Accordingly, air pollution is believed to be the cause of 78,145 to 88,229 deaths and causes the total number of sick days for Bangladeshis to range from 1 billion to 1.1 billion days. The shocking numbers are outlined in a World Bank report, which assesses the short-term impact on physical and mental health of outdoor air pollution using data on 12,250 fish in Dhaka and Sylhet.
Currently, Bangladesh is considered the most polluted country in the world. Meanwhile, Dhaka became the second most polluted city in the world. The sad record has been maintained by them from 2018-2021. Air pollution was identified in 2019 as the second largest risk factor for death and disability in Bangladesh, with 4 of the top 5 causes of death directly related to exposure to air.
“Air pollution puts everyone at risk, from children to the elderly,” said Dandan Chen, acting World Bank country director for Bangladesh. Tackling air pollution is very important for the sustainable growth and development of the country, green development.”
The report also found that areas of heavy construction or heavy traffic in Dhaka had the highest levels of air pollution. In these locations, particulate matter, or PM2.5, is present at levels hazardous to human health. The percentage of particulate matter in the air is 150% higher than the standards of the World Health Organization. This is equivalent to smoking 1.7 cigarettes per day.
After independence, Bangladesh was a poor country, often with famine. However, the country has emerged as a successful example of economic development. The country of 169 million will soon surpass India in per capita income and will soon leave the United Nations list of least developed countries.
The cornerstone of Bangladesh’s economic growth is clothing, focused on global fast fashion. The price to pay, however, is the impact on the environment. Environmentalists say that with the fashion boom, toxic dyes, acids and other dangerous chemicals are being released into the water. The incineration of textile waste also makes the air difficult to breathe.
However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. The dense, urbanized population, the explosion of industrial and construction activity, the brick kilns running at full capacity and the many other small and medium-sized businesses contribute to the characteristic atmosphere of hard breathing. Even Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, has been described as a “gas vault” due to the excessive amount of toxic waste from industrial and construction activities and old and obsolete means of transportation.
Recently, Bangladesh has taken drastic measures to reduce pollution in major cities. Even a law aimed at creating clean air has been considered by this country.