|Title||Dhaka chokes on air pollution|
|Date||2018-01-18 AM 10:57:40||Hit||224|
Bangladesh’s national environment agency has rung an alarm bell over air quality in Dhaka, deeming it “extremely unhealthy” as the dry season begins.
On 7 January 2018, Dhaka’s air pollution levels were at 330 on the Air Quality Index (AQI), which is maintained by Bangladesh’s Department of Environment (DoE), branding the capital’s air quality ‘extremely unhealthy’. The air quality had been ‘extremely unhealthy’ for four consecutive days.
Every single day between January 7 and 10, the degree of air pollution in Dhaka went up. On 7 January, air quality in capital was at 330 points according to the AQI. Next day, it was at 341 points, 355 points on January 9, and 372 points on January 10.
The AQI regards the range of 0–50 points as good air quality, 51–100 as moderately good, 101–150 cautionary, 151-200 as unhealthy, a range between 201–300 points indicate very unhealthy, and 301-500 indicates ‘extremely unhealthy’ air quality.
The DoE operates three continuous air monitoring stations (CAMs) in Dhaka – one in Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, one in Farmgate and the last in Darus Salam – to assess air quality. The CAMs monitor the concentration level of pollutants such as carbon monoxide, lead, nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, and PM10 and PM2.5 – this is, respectively, particulate matter (dust, smoke, mist) that is 10 (PM10) and 2.5 (PM2.5) micrometers or less in diameter, respectively. It does not differentiate which precise pollutant is being measured in the AQI.
Nevertheless some pollutants are more worrying than others. In December, the 24-hour average for PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations were higher than Bangladesh’s average air quality standard, the department of the environment (DoE) said in its air quality report.
“The presence of other pollutants is not so serious. But the concentration of PM10 and PM2.5 in Dhaka’s air is most critical. The air quality is aggravating as the dry season arrives,” Ziaul Haque, a DoE director, told thethirdpole.net, adding that the smoke from brick kilns and vehicle emissions are the major causes of PM10 and PM2.5 in Bangladesh.
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