इंडियन आवाज़     23 May 2024 08:02:34      انڈین آواز

Air Pollution second largest cause of death & disability in Bangladesh: World Bank

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Air pollution was the second largest cause of death and disability in Bangladesh and cost about 3.9 to 4.00 percent of the country’s GDP, said Danden Chan, the acting World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.

According to a World Bank report released on Sunday, December 4, air pollution caused the death of between 78,000 to 88,000 thousand people in Bangladesh in 2019.

The report finds that major construction sites and persistent traffic have the highest level of pollution in Dhaka. At these sites, the fine particulate matter (PM2.5), which is considered most hazardous to health, is on average 150 percent above the WHO Air Quality Guidelines (AQG), which is equivalent to smoking about 1.7 cigarettes per day.

The second highest concentration of PM2.5 levels is found near brick kilns in Greater Dhaka, which is 136 percent above the WHO AQG – equivalent to smoking 1.6 cigarettes per day.

In Bangladesh, Dhaka is the most polluted division while Sylhet is the least polluted. From 2018 to 2021, Dhaka was ranked as the second most polluted city in the world. The western regions (Khulna and Rajshahi) are more polluted than the eastern ones (Sylhet and Chattogram).

In the Dhaka division, in addition to local pollution sources, up to one-fifth of the total PM2.5 concentration comes from transboundary sources, says the report.

Air pollution also affects mental health. Depression is most reported in locations with major construction and persistent traffic. The study finds that a one percent increase in exposure to PM2.5 above the WHO AQG is associated with a 20 percent higher probability of being depressed.

Exposure to high levels of air pollution significantly raises the risks of breathing difficulties, cough, lower respiratory tract infections, as well as depression, and other health conditions. Children under five years, the elderly, and people with comorbidities such as diabetes, heart or respiratory conditions, are most vulnerable, says the World Bank report.

Addressing air pollution is critical for the country’s sustainable and green growth and development. Through analytical work and new investments, the World Bank is helping Bangladesh reduce air pollution, said Dandan Chen, Acting World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.

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