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Lessons from air pollution in Beijing

Banojir Rahman | Published: February 04, 2016 22:02:09 | Updated: October 19, 2017 20:03:16


The worst air pollution in China needs to be taken very seriously in Bangladesh in view of failure of the rising economic superpower to contain it. Viewed against this backdrop, Bangladesh lacks the know-how and proper planning to handle such air pollution in its capital.
Bangladesh is the fourth largest populated country of the world while its capital Dhaka is rated as the worst liveable city. Thousands of people from other districts migrate daily to the capital in search of better livelihood in the absence of income-generating activities in their own habitats. Most of them have no other alternative but to live in slums or in poor housing units in the capital. 
   On the other hand, cottage and small industries have been established here and there in Dhaka city without any proper planning making the capital very noisy and suffocated. Chemical industries and other high pollution-emitting small industries are located in different parts of the capital while tanneries having no effluent treatment plants (ETPs) are yet to be shifted to Savar as planned. As a result, the pollution level in Dhaka is fast approaching a dangerous level.
Trees in the capital are being felled recklessly while natural ponds have already been filled up by different housing companies to make room for housing units, and waste are being dumped into the rivers surrounding Dhaka city. All the open spaces are no more vacant. On the other hand, thousands of vehicles emitting dangerous gases are also polluting the city's environment.
As the two city corporations are assigned to look after the well-being of the capital, the onus of keeping it pollution-free squarely lies with them. These municipal bodies can seek assistance of the Department of Environment to devise ways and means to address the issues of pollution. The Beijing scene should awaken the two city corporations from slumber.   
 Air pollution, surprisingly, causes 4,400 deaths in China every single day. Such pollution causes respiratory diseases like asthma, lung cancer and heart ailments. Burning of coals and fossil energy sources has only added to the sorry plight of the Chinese people. Factories and educational institutions have been declared closed in Beijing as worst air pollution has compelled the authorities to declare a 'red alert'. 
The cloud all over Beijing is very smoggy and grey. People now have to use masks as protective shield against polluted oxygen. This situation became worst because of excessive vehicle emissions, dust from construction sites, heating system and coal-powered industries. The Beijing authorities have decided to limit production in industries. It has banned outdoor construction work. The two city corporations in Dhaka should act before it is too late.
The writer is a student of the BRAC University, Dhaka
Benozir_tuly@yahoo.com
 

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