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Air Pollution

Contaminations of the atmosphere caused by the discharge, accidental or
deliberate of a wide range of toxic substances. Often the amount of the
released substance is relatively high in a certain locality, so the harmful
effects are more noticeable. The major sources of air pollution are
transportation engines, power and heat generation, industrial processes and
the burning of solid waste. A new source of air pollution is an increasing
'hole' in the ozone layer in the atmosphere above Antarctica, coupled with
growing evidence of global ozone depletion. Air pollution has also long been
known to have an adverse effect on human beings, plants, livestock and
aquatic ecosystem through acid rain.

Types of air pollution:

Gases, vapors SOx, NOx, CO, Ozone, NH3
Particulate Dust, fly ash, smoke, shoot, droplets, mist, fog,
matter fumes, aerosol

Sources of air pollution:

• Road dust
• Small manufacturing facilities
• Industries
• Open burning

Recently as in other parts of the world air pollution has received priority
among environmental issues in Asia. This problem is acute in DHAKA, the
capital of Bangladesh and also the hub of commercial activity. Basically,
there are two major sources of air pollution industrial emissions and
vehicular emissions. The industrial sources include brick kilns, fertiliser
factories, sugar, paper, jute and textile mills, spinning mills, tanneries,
garment, bread and biscuit factories, chemical and pharmaceutical
industries, cement production and processing factories, metal workshops,
and wooden dust from saw mills and dusts from ploughed land, and salt
particles from ocean waves near the offshore and coastal lands. These
sources produce enormous amount of smokes, fumes, gases and dusts,
which create the condition for the formation of fog and smog. Certain
industries such as tanneries at Hazaribag emit hydrogen sulphide, ammonia,
chlorine, and some other odorous chemicals that are poisonous and cause
irritation and public complaints. This may cause headache and other health

The number of vehicles is also increasing rapidly, and contributing to more
and more air pollution. The Department of Environment (DOE), and other
related organizations, has identified overloaded, poorly maintained and very
old trucks and mini-buses and small vehicles are plying the city streets
emitting smokes and gases. In fact about 90% of the vehicles that ply
Dhaka's streets daily are faulty, and emit smoke far exceeding the prescribed
limit. Diesel vehicles emit black smoke, which contain unburned fine carbon

The air quality standards are different for residential, industrial, commercial,
and sensitive areas. The worst affected areas in Dhaka city include:
Hatkhola, Manik Mia Avenue, Tejgaon, Farmgate, Motijheel, Lalmatia, and
Mohakhali. Surveys conducted between January 1990 and December 1999
showed that the concentration of suspended particles goes up to as high as
3,000 micrograms per cubic meter (Police Box, Farmgate, December 1999),
although the allowable limit is 400 micrograms per cubic meter. The sulphur
dioxide in the air near Farmgate was found to be 385 micrograms per cubic
meter, where as the maximum permissible limit is 100 micrograms per cubic
meter. Similarly, in the Tejgaon Industrial Area the maximum concentration
of suspended particles was 1,849 micrograms per cubic meter (January
1997), as opposed to the allowable limit of 500 micrograms per cubic meter.
Usually the maximum concentration of air pollution in Dhaka is during the
dry months of December to March.

Dust pollution is causing many RESPIRATORY DISEASEs, including ASTHMA. Recently,
200 organic compounds are detected by analysing four air samples collected
from the Shewrapara area of the city. As far as the VOC is concerned the
following worst affected areas are identified: Hatkhola, Manik Mian Avenue,
Tejgaon, Farm Gate, Motijheel, Lalmatia, and the inter-district bus terminals.
Surveys conducted between December 1996 and June 1997 showed that the
concentration of suspended particles goes up to as high as 2,465
micrograms per cubic metre as against the allowable limit of 400 micrograms
per cubic metre at Farm Gate. In Tejgaon Industrial Area, on the other hand,
the maximum concentration of suspended particles was 630 micrograms as
against the allowable limit of 500 micrograms per cubic metre.

In 1985-86 the BANGLADESH PETROLEUM CORPORATION started a project to use COMPRESSED

NATURAL GAS (CNG) in vehicles instead of gasoline. The primary objective was to
reduce vehicular emissions, as combustion of CNG produces less pollution
than gasoline. The World Bank donated Taka 225 million to initiate the
project. So far data on the number of vehicles converted to CNG from 1985
to 1997 are as follows: 1985-86 converted vehicles 2; 1988-89 converted
vehicles 19; 1989-90 converted vehicles 9; 1990-91 converted vehicles 6;
1991-92 converted vehicles 10; 1992-93 converted vehicles 16; 1993-94
converted vehicles 3; 1995-96 converted vehicles 13 and 1996-97 converted
vehicles 86. Private sector participation in using CNG for taxicabs is
significant. At the beginning of 2002 the Government has started
promotional campaign and appropriate push to the owners of autorickshaws
to use CNG in order to reduce
vehicular emissions.

The first regulation
related to ENVIRONMENT in
Bangladesh was the Factory Act of 1965, which was followed by the earliest
recorded environmental protection act, known as the 'Water Pollution Control
Ordinance, 1970'. However, these ordinances do not include air pollution
problems. Gradually these ordinances were modified and the Environmental
Pollution Control Ordinance (EPC), 1977, was promulgated. It dealt with
pollution of air, surface and ground water, and soil by discharge of liquid,
gaseous, solid, radioactive or other substances. Although the order passed
under the EPC 1977 was legally in place, implementation of environmental
laws never took place.

Following rapid industrialization the environmental scenario in Bangladesh
changed dramatically. The Ministry of Environment and Forest and the
Department of Environment were created in 1989 and the Environment
Policy of 1992 was introduced. Further, the Environmental Conservation Act,
1995, and the Environment Conservation Rules, 1997, were approved by the
Bangladesh National Assembly to restrict and mitigate ever-growing
environmental problems in the country. Moreover if things are happening
like this then pretty soon Dhaka city will become a nightmare for us. We still
have time in our hand, we have to go for sustainable development for not
only air infect for every environmental issues.

1. Banglapedia
2. Wikipedia