For the eight straight day, Dhaka dwellers have been experiencing a ‘moderate’ level of air quality , thanks to the fairly active monsoon in Bangladesh.
With an air quality index (AQI) score of 59, the capital of Bangladesh ranked 32nd in the list of cities worldwide with the worst air quality at 9:05 am today (July 13, 2023).
The United Arab Emirates’ Dubai, South Africa’s Johannesburg and Indonesia’s Jakarta occupied the first three spots on the list, with AQI scores of 168, 160 and 143, respectively.
An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’ while an AQI between 50 and 100 is considered ‘moderate’ with an acceptable air quality. Meanwhile, an AQI between 101 and 200 is considered ‘unhealthy’, particularly for sensitive groups.
Similarly, an AQI between 201 and 300 is said to be ‘poor’, while a reading of 301 to 400 is considered ‘hazardous’, posing serious health risks to residents.
AQI, an index for reporting daily air quality, is used by government agencies to inform 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.
Dhaka has long been grappling with air pollution issues. Its air quality usually turns unhealthy in winter and improves during the monsoon.
Air pollution consistently ranks among the top risk factors for death and disability worldwide. Breathing polluted air has long been recognised as increasing a person's chances of developing heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases, lung infections and cancer, according to several studies.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year, largely as a result of increased mortality from stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections.