Air pollution has become a matter of great concern for us in recent years. Those who are living in cities in Asian countries including Dhaka, have already realised how seriously air pollution has been poisoning life and degrading the environment. People living in major towns of Bangladesh experience the problems of air pollution in varied degrees.
Faulty vehicles, especially diesel run vehicles, brick kilns, dust from roads and construction sites and toxic fumes from industries contribute to air pollution. Industrialisation and mechanized vehicles are two major sources of air pollution in any country. Those are unavoidable accompaniments of increased economic activity of any country. The number of automobiles has been increasing in Dhaka city at the rate of at least 10 per cent annually, which has been contributing to air pollution on the one hand and traffic congestion on the other.
The main pollutants from gasoline powered internal combustion engines are carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide particulates of lead compound and unburned carbon particles. Emissions from diesel engines are smoke, carbon monoxide, unburned carbon, nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide.
Air pollution seriously affects the respiratory tract and causes irritation, headache, asthma, high blood pressure, heart ailments and even cancer. If this trend of air pollution continued, those living in major cities including the metropolis, will become exposed to these ailments and also other complications. The mental faculty of children will be adversely affected by lead pollution, which can also affect the central nervous system and cause renal damage and hypertension.
In this context, it can be recalled that the average annual deaths from air pollution-related diseases in Delhi increased to 10,000 from the level of 7,500 in early 1990s as was revealed in a World Bank study in late 1990s. The level of small particles — less than 10 micron — present in the air was very high, which could cause severe lung cancer, according to Delhi based Centre for Science an Environment (CSE).
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