Dhaka’s air quality showed signs of improvement for the third consecutive day on Thursday morning.
It was categorised as ‘moderate’ and ranked 16th worst in the AQI index.
The megacity had an AQI score of 78 at 09:37am. When the AQI remains between 51 and 100, the air quality is acceptable.
However, there may be risks for some people, particularly those who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.
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India’s Delhi, South Africa’s Johannesburg and Pakistan’s Lahore occupied the first three spots in the list of cities with the worst air quality with AQI scores of 192, 158 and 156 respectively.
The AQI, an index for reporting daily air quality, informs people how clean or polluted the air of a certain city is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for them.
In Bangladesh, the AQI is based on five criteria pollutants – Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5), NO2, CO, SO2, and Ozone (O3).
Bangladesh has a subtropical monsoon climate characterised by wide seasonal variations in rainfall, high temperatures and humidity.
Dhaka’s air starts getting fresh when rainfall begins from mid-June. The air remains mostly acceptable during monsoon from June to October.
Dhaka has long been grappling with air pollution.
The situation was so bad that the High Court stepped in and issued a nine-point directive to improve air quality in January.
Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin admitted that air pollution in the capital reached an intolerable level and said brick kilns are responsible for 58 percent of the pollution.
“Green belts should be set up at various locations of the city and water bodies need to be conserved. A system should be in place to identify how people can live safely in polluted air. Air pollution should be seen as an important national crisis,” he told UNB.