A new global study has found that indoor and outdoor air pollution led to 1.23 lakh deaths in Bangladesh in 2017. The report also said that the entire population has been exposed to PM 2.5 (widely regarded as the pollutant with the most health impact of all commonly measured air pollutants)—way above the WHO permitted level. Another survey earlier revealed that Bangladesh has the most polluted air in the world and Dhaka is the second most polluted capital city. The findings are alarming and demands the government's immediate attention.
According to the DoE and the World Bank, brick kilns make up 56 percent of the country's air pollution. And at present, the main source of pollution in Dhaka is the never-ending construction works by various government agencies. Although the government had enacted a law in 2018 to make brick kilns environment-friendly, a recent report indicated that 2,123 of the 7,772 brick kilns in the country have not converted to the required modern and environment-friendly technology. And so far, no substantial action has been taken to stop the dust pollution from construction works. As a result, cardiovascular disease, cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, which have direct and indirect links with air pollution, are all on the rise. The situation is particularly dangerous for children since air pollution badly affects children's physical and mental development.
Under such dire circumstances, the government must find some workable solutions to reduce the level of air pollution in the country. The law to make brick kilns environment-friendly must be enforced and a new specific law to stop air pollution should be enacted. People should be made aware of the health hazards of air pollution, and the government must act now and declare air pollution a public health emergency.