Summer or winter, air pollution trends across the seasons in Dhaka. And this year-round air pollution is largely attributed to the same emissions -- construction and road dust.
Construction dust is basically silica dust prevalent at construction sites and is often held responsible for health conditions like asthma. Leftover construction waste also adds dust to air.
Road dust, on the other hand, is loose soil on broken or unpaved roads, and includes vehicular emissions to an extent.
Experts, however, claim to have a quick fix solution for Dhaka's air pollution that peaks during winter and prevails in summer too -- sprinkling water on all construction sites, public or private, and roads to settle dust.
MA Matin, former general secretary of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), told UNB that air pollution is increasing day by day in Dhaka due to the absence of an effective control mechanism.
“Dust and sand particles cause air pollution but the city's two civic bodies have to take concrete steps to control the same. The pollution has hazardous health implications that can cause death directly or indirectly."
Professor Dr Najmul Islam, director of the Disease Control Department of the Health Directorate, echoed similar voice.
“Pollutants are getting mixed with foods and triggering serious health issues -- from asthma to lung disease and kidney failure. It's high time that the pollution was curbed," he said.
Bangladesh Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin urged all agencies concerned to act in a coordinated manner to control pollution.
“Time and again, we have set up several camps in Dhaka and other big cities to determine the air quality level. However, it did not work and we now need coordinated steps to curb pollution,” he said.
According to the Minister, it’s the responsibility of the two city corporations to keep its roads clean every day. “They must also sprinkle water on the roads to bring down the dust,” he said.
"Several decisions were taken at the inter-ministerial meetings to curb air pollution. Implementation of the measures can give effective results but there is no alternative to coordinated efforts of all agencies."