Some good news: Dhaka is no longer world's most polluted city. Lahore holds that undesired title now.
Today, Dhaka occupied the seventh position in the list of world cities with the worst air quality. Its air quality index (AQI) was recorded at 178 around 10:00am, which is considered "unhealthy for sensitive groups".
The city of Lahore in Pakistan occupied the first place with an AQI score of 229. The second and third spots were grabbed by Delhi of India and Thailand's Chiang Mai, respectively.
An AQI between 100 and 200 is considered "unhealthy for sensitive groups". Similarly, an AQI between 201 and 300 is said to be "poor", while a reading of 301 to 400 is considered "hazardous", posing serious health risks to residents.
AQI, an index for reporting daily air quality, is used by government agencies to inform people how clean or polluted the air of a certain city is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for them.
In Bangladesh, the overall AQI is based on five criteria pollutants – Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5), NO2, CO, SO2, and Ozone (O3).
The Department of Environment has also set national ambient air quality standards for these pollutants.
Dhaka has long been grappling with air pollution issues. Generally, Dhaka's air starts getting better when monsoon rains begin in mid-June. The air remains mostly acceptable from June to October.
In February last year, Bangladesh's Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin admitted that air pollution levels in the capital "has reached an extreme level". "This is mainly due to uncontrolled discharge of dust from construction projects, smoke from vehicles and brick kilns," he told UNB.