Bangladesh’s capital city ranked the fourth worst in Air Quality Index (AQI) onTuesday morning.
Dhaka had a score of 220 at 9:36 am, which means the air quality was ‘very unhealthy’.
Afganistan’s Kabul, Bulgaria’s Sofia, India’s Kolkata,occupied the first three slots with scores of 291, 251 and 250 respectively.
When the AQI value is between 201 and 300, it is considered as emergency conditions with health warnings. The entire population is more likely to be affected in this situation.
Active children, adults, and people with respiratory diseases are suggested to limit outdoor exertion.
The air quality is categorised as good when the AQI score remains below 50. The air is classified as moderate when the score is 51-100. But when the number is between 101 and 150, the air is classified as unhealthy for sensitive groups.
The AQI, an index for reporting daily air quality, tells people how clean or polluted the air of a certain city is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for them.
Bangladesh’s overcrowded capital has been grappling with air pollution for a long time. The quality usually improves during monsoon.
Speakers at a conference here Monday said establishing peace, justice, and strong institutions is crucial in order to achieve equality across and inside borders.
The daylong conference on “In-Gov” was organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with an aim to achieving Sustainable Development Goal-16.
The event ended with closing remarks by Sudipto Mukerjee, Resident Representative, UNDP Bangladesh who emphasized the nexus between integration and innovation to achieve inclusive growth.
His remarks were followed by a discussion among Mia Seppo, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, Anisul Huq, Law Minister, Dr. Gowher Rizvi, International Affairs Advisor to the Prime Minister, Rensje Teerink, Ambassador and Head of Delegation, European Union and Naoki Ito, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Bangladesh who discussed the way forward for Bangladesh with an emphasis on inclusive governance.
The conference focused on governance for a peaceful, just and inclusive society, where Sarder M Asaduzzaman, Senior Project Manager of UNDP’s Activating Village Courts in Bangladesh project presented the keynote paper, according to UNDP.
“We must ensure that all development plans remain non-discriminatory, and put the youth at the centre of planning,” he said in his presentation.
During the panel discussion on promoting participatory governance, Shoko Ishikawa, Country Representative of UN Women, said social barriers are a fundamental issue. "We must promote accountability and get out of this culture of impunity. We want women and the youth to thrive, but we must create a conducive environment for them.”
Selima Ahmed, MP, and President of Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said they identified three major challenges to women’s participation in business – access to finance, capacity, and social barriers. "We realised the ultimate challenge were social barriers.”
“To overcome such challenges, merely inclusion is not enough, there must be integration and collaboration to ensure sustainable development,” she added.
Sultana Afroz, Additional Secretary of Finance Ministry, also Wing Chief (UN), and Mejbahuddin, former Senior Secretary, also spoke at the session moderated by Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, professor of International Relations at Dhaka University and Director of Centre for Genocide Studies, University of Dhaka.
Panelists at a session titled “Building future for and by the youth,” stressed on the need for effective collaboration between stakeholders and youth organisations to reach the common goal of youth leadership and empowerment.
Moderated by Nahim Razzaq, MP, the panel included Hyungue Joe, Country Director of Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA); Aftab Ahmed, Additional Secretary of Ministry of Youth and Sports; Tina Jabeen, Investment Advisor at ICT Ministry’s Startup Bangladesh, and Osama Bin Noor, Founder of Youth Opportunities.
The discussion followed a presentation on UNDP’s plethora of youth engagement activities by Palki Ahmed, Programme Coordination Expert at UNDP.
It is impossible to improve governance without harnessing the power of data, digitisation, and technology.
At the third panel, discussants Mohammad Nassis Bin Suleiman, Regional Country Head of Islamic Development Bank in Bangladesh; Ahsan Adelur Rahman, MP; Osama Taseer, President of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, Director of Centre for Genocide Studies, and Md Tajul Islam, Director General of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics emphasised the need for closing the data gap by utilising technology during collection and analysis.
The private and public sectors must work together to this end, added the speakers.
Anir Chowdhury, Policy Advisor of a2i, delivered a presentation on Innovation for Inclusive Governance in Bangladesh, where he explained multiple innovative ways, such as social media, activism, of improving service delivery.
The panel discussion included Manmohan Parkash, Country Director, Asian Development Bank, Judith Herbertson, Country Representative, DFID, and Dr. Shamsul Alam, Senior Secretary, General Economics Division (GED).
Judith Herbertson mentioned that governance is at the centre of everything and it is the key to unlock durable solutions, channel inclusive growth and develop mitigation and adaptation strategies to combat the pressing climate change. She reiterated the importance of governance as a driver of change.
Manmohan Parkash, Country Director, Asian Development Bank, shared his insight on the need for innovation to be embedded in all development practices.
“Inclusivity and innovation go hand in hand,” he said, emphasizing how innovation may be used as a tool for achieving inclusivity across all spheres.
President of Pharmaceutical Industry Association Nazmul Hasan Papon on Monday said that due to price hike of raw materials used in the pharmaceutical industry, it is not being possible for the government to stabilize medicine price.
Papon said this while speaking as chief guest at Gozaria (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) Park in the afternoon.
Earlier, he laid the foundation stone of Central Effluent Plant (CEP) of API pharmaceutical park.
“The government always tried to keep the medicine price stable but it was not possible for the government all the time to keep the price stable due to price hike of raw materials”, said Nazmul Hasan Papon who is also the President of BCB.
The price of 95 percent medicine was stable, he said adding that “we are trying to establish API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) Industry for a long time”.
Nazmul Hasan Papon mentioned that Bangladesh manufactures 98 percent medicine locally but imports 95 percent raw material for medicine, in this regard the country is lagging behind but it was not a headache for the country as importing raw materials from abroad was profitable.
Papon said, some days ago 2,500 API was closed on the issue of protecting environment and for that price of raw materials went high which was 120-125 dollars, rose to 300 dollars.
It is natural that price would rise if demand rises. So our API should go into production immediately, he added.
“We are not being able to manufacture patented medicine . We are to remain patent-free till 2032. But we can remain patent-free till 2027 with a three-year extension. However, there may not be any extension. In that respect, we will be able to manufacture patented medicine in 2024. Twenty seven companies will manufacture raw materials of medicine but I will say that there is no benefit of manufacturing paracetamol. I will ask the manufacturers to manufacture those medicine which are of value,” said Papon.
He further said that many countries who manufacture API and they themselves consume 60 percent and if we want to export, we can do.
“The government and the BSCIC extended support to establish API and attaching importance to environment we set up ETP,” he pointed out.
Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) on Monday arrested a member of Indian Border Security Force (BSF) for trespassing into Bangladesh illegally through Benapole check-post before retuning him through a flag meeting.
Subedar Mizanur Rahman, in-charge of BGB battalion 49, said some BSF members crossed 66 feet into Bangladesh from the no man’s land while chasing a man in the afternoon. Later, BGB men rushed to the spot.
Although BSF members fled the scene after sensing the presence of BGB men, their head constable Sree Chaitanya was detained, he said, adding that Chaitanya was later handed over to the Indian side through a flag meeting.
The High Court on Monday issued a rule asking the authorities concerned to explain under which authority Rajshahi University (RU) Vice-chancellor Prof M Abdus Sobhan is holding his post.
The HC bench of Justice Tariq ul Hakim and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir issued the rule after hearing a petition filed challenging the legality of VC’s reappointment.
Secretaries to the President’s Office, Education Ministry and University Grants Commission (UGC), VC, Registrar of RU and Chairman of its Applied Physics and Electronic Engineering department have been made respondents to the rule which is returnable in four weeks.
Senior Advocate AJ Mohammad Ali stood for the petitioner while deputy attorney general Kazi Mainul Hasan represented the state.
On July 24, Salman Firoz Foysal, a former student of Computer Science and Engineering Department of the university, filed the petition challenging the legality of holding the VC post by Sobhan.
On May 15, the writ petitioner sent a legal notice to the RU VC seeking his resignation for being reappointed as the VC with wrong information.
According to the writ, Prof Abdus Sobhan was reappointed for the second term on May 7, 2017 and he took the charge the same day.
On June 21 of the same year, he joined the Applied Physics and Electronic Engineering department as a professor and voluntarily resigned from the post on the same day, making the VC post vacant.
Later, Prof Akhter Farooque, dean of the Sciences Faculty of the university, was made VC for one day, which is contradictory to the RU Ordinance 1973.