Coronavirus outbreak in Bangladesh: Dhaka breathes | Daily Star
08:26 PM, March 29, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 08:46 PM, March 29, 2020

Dhaka breathes

As the streets of Dhaka lay empty during a 10-day shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, air quality saw significant improvements.

As of 7:30pm today (March 29), Dhaka's Air Quality Index (AQI) stands at 91 -- a giant leap forward from a typical range of 260-319 at the beginning of the year.

The readings are taken from -- the World Air Quality Index Project, which measures air quality by taking into account various indicators like the amount of PM 2.5 (fine particulate matter), NO2 (nitrogen dioxide), SO2 (sulfur dioxide), CO (carbon monoxide), O3 (ozone) and weather data.

Unbearable air pollution has made Dhaka one of the worst cities in the world to live in according to several past indexes.

But with the coronavirus scare looming over the city, combined with the government's decision for a general closure from March 26 to April 4, most of its residents are now confined in their residences.

Previously bustling city streets, filled with people and vehicles even a week ago, are now vacant. Almost zero carbon emissions in the past few days has made Dhaka's air breathable again, according to the latest air quality index.

With an AQI of 91 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for the time being, has moderately better air on average, compared to countries like Spain, Italy, China, Mexico and India.

According to, the AQI of Dhaka will likely remain within a range of 86-153 until April 4, when Dhaka reopens to citizens once again.

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