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Environmental Pollution in Dhanmondi Area

Bangladesh is apparently now in the grip of all sorts of pollution, like air pollution,
soil pollution, water pollution and what not. Dwellers of the urban areas are the
worst sufferers. The indiscriminate industrialization process in Bangladesh over
the past decades has created significant environmental problems. Among the most
significant is the enormous volume of solid waste which is being produced every
day but not be disposed properly. The mismanagement of the solid wasted,
particularly the polythene shopping bag has caused serious threat to the soil, public
health, and drainage system in the cities. The drainage system is about to collapse,
about five to six feet of polythene layers have developed at places at the bottom of
many rivers and other water bodies. As a non-biodegradable environmental hazard
it has already wreaked havoc in public sanitation, not to speak of the irreparable

damage its further use could inevitably bring to our life system. Environmental
Engineering deals with the study of the technical processes, which can be used for
minimizing pollution and environmental impact. Environmental engineering
creates the capability of practical application of environmental studies in the real

Figure: Map Of The Dhaka City.

Description of The Dhaka City :
Dhaka city is more than 400 years old. Over these years the population has increased many folds.
Living in Dhaka is not really like living in the crater of an active volcano but it is like living on a
sleeping volcano which may erupt any time and engulf everything. It’s not fully realizing what
crisis is emerging for them. In 37 years of independence the capital of Bangladesh, the historic
city which bears many symbols of national pride like Language Martyr monument, Monument
for martyred freedom fighters, Historic relics of Mogul Dynasty unfortunately have become a
concrete slum perspiring for fresh air & thirsty for pure drinking water. The dilapidated state of
the city mirrors the poor state of affairs of the entire nation. The water of the rivers around the
city is polluted, air is poisonous obnoxious particles, gas, electricity and water are getting scarce.
At last 20%of the population is living in slums in inhuman condition. Cost of living has sky
rocketed beyond normal peoples reach. This is not what the liberation war was fought for. Our
valiant freedom fighters did not make supreme sacrifice for a Dhaka city life like this. Many
people talk of realizing the dreams of freedom fighters, many talks about ideals of liberation war.
But we should all be ashamed for our failures at our respective positions to serve the nation with

Social Problem at Dhanmondi :

Bangladesh capital Historic Dhaka is fast turning into an inhabitable city. Air & water are
saturated with poisonous elements, sound pollution reaching unacceptable limits, gas electricity,
and water supply crisis looming large, rapid depletion of sub surface water level making the city
vulnerable to mild earth quake.

Living in one of the most populated Dhamnondi area of the city, the people leaving in the area
faces enormous pollution problem every day. We would like focus on the environmental
pollution situation in this area. Thus this paper tends to put together major causes of pollution in
Dhanmondi area and their effects. As a whole Dhaka city is expanding in all direction east to
west, north to south, population is increasing in geometric progression but the civic amenities
can’t keep pace with the growing demand. The capacity of various utilities can no longer meet
the increasing demand. Supply of pure drinking water, safe accommodation for the growing
population, appropriate sanitation, municipal waste collection, supply of electricity and gas for
about 150 Million city dwellers are progressively turning into serious crisis. In this serious
situation the news about Dhaka city air reported to containing higher proportion of lead and CO
must be considered very alarming. Serious noises, unacceptable sound level is causing hearing
problem. In no modern cities these days the automobiles blow horns in the heart of the city. The
water of rivers around Dhaka city is nothing but poison. But the helpless shelter less people from
villages and rural people are migrating to Dhaka compounding the problem still further. City
dwellers are already affected with various contagious water borne disease. Dhaka has already

turned into a slum of concrete. being located in the center off the Dhaka city Dhanmondi
dwellers are facing huge amount of inconvenience and health threats as the environmental
pollution is not taken care of immediately.

Causes & Effect of various Pollution :

• Air Pollution :
Contamination in the atmosphere caused by the discharge, accidental or
deliberates 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.

There are many different chemical substances that contribute to air

pollution. These chemicals come from a variety of sources. Among the many
types of air pollutants are nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxides, and organic
compounds that can evaporate and enter the atmosphere.

Air pollutants have sources that are both natural and human. Now, humans
contribute substantially more to the air pollution problem.

Forest fires, volcanic eruptions, wind erosion, pollen dispersal, evaporation of

organic compounds, and natural radioactivity are all among the natural
causes of air pollution.

Usually, natural air pollution does not occur in abundance in particular

locations. The pollution is spread around throughout the world, and as a
result, poses little threat to the health of people and ecosystems.

Some cities suffer severely because of heavy industrial use of chemicals that
cause air pollution. Places like Mexico City and Sao Paulo have some of the
most deadly pollution levels in the world.

• Traffic Pollution :
Limited resources, invested for the development of transport facilities, such as infrastructure and
vehicles, coupled with the rapid rise in transport demand, existence of a huge number of non-
motorized vehicles on roads, lack of application of adequate and proper traffic management
schemes are producing severe transport problems in almost all the urban areas of Bangladesh.
Worsening situation of traffic congestion in the streets and sufferings of the inhabitants from
vehicle emissions demand extensive research in this field. However, no detailed study
concerning traffic congestion and pollution problems for urban areas of Bangladesh has yet been
done. However, a number of news reporting nowadays regarding traffic pollution scenarios
enhance me to write something on this issue. As I have been done some background study on
traffic pollution problem of Bangladesh.

Current situation of traffic pollution problem in Dhaka city based on a preliminary investigation.
In Bangladesh, pollution severity occur due to the high content of lead in gasoline, large number
of high polluting vehicles, impure fuel, inefficient land use, and overall poor traffic management.
The pollutants of concern for Bangladesh are leaded fuel, particulate matter, dust, oxides of
nitrogen, and sulfur dioxide.

Dhaka has the highest lead pollution in the world for a part of the year, 1996, scientists at the
Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC) observed In Bangladesh, all vehicles use
leaded fuel because the country's only refinery is not able to produce lead-free fuel. The higher
share of SOx emissions from automobiles, in Bangladesh is due to the poor fuel quality and the
extensive use of diesel-powered in some cases impure diesel vehicles.

• Noise pollution:
Noise pollution causing deafness World became more and more civilized during past centuries
and noise pollution became a serious problem our days. It is a huge issue to everyone and
especially for people who live in big and crowded cities. It is not only airports, cars or factories
that pollute noise, but also such things as computers or printers can distract people. Even
pleasurable things, such as listening to loud music, can damage our hearing. It is proven that
noise has different negative influences on people. It not only damages our hearing but also
affects our behavior. In this research I will try to prove that noise pollution is a very dangerous
thing that can not only distract people but also make them deaf. According Encyclopedia, noise

is “sound that interferes with other sound that are being listened to”. Every day we hear different
noises. Big cities are the main sources of noise pollution. People invented engines, amplifiers,
speakers and other things to make our life easier

The noise pollution in Dhanmondi is excessive. Noise pollution continues to pose a major health
threat for Dhanmondi. People of Dhanmondi mostly suffer from the bad effects of noise
pollution. Approximately 12 million people now live in the capital city where traffic congestion
is a regular phenomenon almost in every road, lane and by-lane. This traffic congestion is the
root cause of noise pollution as most of the motor vehicles especially buses, mini-buses and
trucks have hydraulic horns and the drivers are trained to honk continuously till they get their
ways clear. Other reasons for honking that creates noise pollution include reckless driving,
overtaking and drivers’ lack of knowledge on the impact of noise pollution. Moreover, use of
brick-crushing machines in the locality and abuse of loudspeakers are other causes of noise
pollution. In my discussion here I discuss about the noise pollution of Dhaka city. These are
mainly due to vehicular horns and movement, loudspeakers from processions and meetings, high
volume of audio players from roadside small business enterprises and others. Due to traffic jams
on the roads of Dhaka city, most of the vehicles use their horn constantly, which is extremely
harmful to human health, especially for children. The World Health Organization (WHO) opines
that 60 decibels of sound can make a person deaf (The Daily Bangladesh Observer, 9 April,
2004). The noise level of Dhaka is more or the city has sound level more than the noise quality
standard. The WHO study already identified eight areas in Dhaka city as severe red zones and
ten areas as moderate red zone for noise pollution of which Mahakhali, Gabtoli, and Sayedabad
bus terminals are on the top for extreme noise pollution. Moreover, due to lack of awareness and
inefficiency in driving, many drivers use the horn unnecessarily that increases sound level in the
proximity. The practical situation is very severe in the mornings near any primary of secondary
school. The drivers constantly blow their horns, which directly expose the students to higher
level of sound. Many vehicles with very old engines ply on the city street that sometimes creates
more noise than the horns. However, proper enforcement of the following policies, acts and
guidelines may able to address the noise hazards in the city.

• Water Pollution :
For the past two decades the water from over a million tube-wells has been slowly poisoning
Bangladeshi villagers with naturally occurring arsenic. Over 18 millions people are drinking this
poisoned water daily.

Arsenic is naturally occurring in pyrite bedrock underlying much of West Bengal. The poisoning
began to occur as millions of kiloliters of water was being pumped out from deep within
underground reservoirs. As a result the water level dropped and exposed the arsenic-bearing
pyrite to air leading to oxidization, a reaction which flushed arsenic into the remaining water.

Arsenic is a slow killer that accumulates in the body resulting in nails rotting, dark spots,
bleeding sores, swelling, large warts and a form of gangrene. It is carcinogen increasing the risk
of skin cancer and tumors of the bladder, kidney, liver and lungs.

As a result of widespread water contamination domestic abuse has become just one of the social
costs. There are now many reports of broken marriage, as husbands send disfigured wives back
to their parents. Many young men and women don’t get married at all. Some people think the
poison can be passed on from parent to child so many arsenic poisoned women have problems
finding husbands.

Solutions for such environmental pollution problems :

• Water pollution solution:

Many laws have been created to restrict industries from dumping materials into the water.
However, many laws remain weak, and many countries do not restrict water pollution.

In the United States, the Clean Water Act was written to completely put an end to all dumping of
pollutants into water. The law has not been that effective in many areas, but in other locations, it
has achieved its goals.

Since the Clean Water Act, other legislation has been enacted as well. Now, eleven different
federal government agencies and 21 federal government programs all monitor the quality of
water and regulate pollution.

The world has spent tremendous sums of money trying to clean up water. From 1972-1990, the
US spent over $250 billion.

Many non-governmental projects are also being carry out in an effort to clean up the water.
Industries are beginning to reduce the amount of chemicals they dump into water, and
environmental groups are participating in cleanup projects.

The plastics industry, blamed for some of the worst pollution of the water, is making its products
degradable. However, many environmentalists think this is hardly enough.

Public reaction to the water pollution problem has also been influential. Governments have
responded when public anger has risen, such as after the Exxon Valdez accident.

• Air pollution solution:

Air pollution has many disastrous effects that need to be curbed. In order to accomplish this,
governments, scientists and environmentalists are using or testing a variety of methods aimed at
reducing pollution.

There are two main types of pollution control :

1. Input control involves preventing a problem before it occurs, or at least limiting the
effects the process will produce.

Five major input control methods exist. People may try to restrict population growth, use less
energy, improve energy efficiency, reduce waste, and move to non-polluting renewable forms of
energy production. Also, automobile-produced pollution can be decreased with highly beneficial

2. Output control, the opposite method, seeks to fix the problems caused by air pollution.
This usually means cleaning up an area that has been damaged by pollution.

Input controls are usually more effective than output controls. Output controls are also more
expensive, making them less desirable to tax payers and polluting industries. Current air
pollution control efforts are not all highly effective. In wealthier countries, industries are often
able to shift to methods that decrease air pollution. In the United States, for example, air
pollution control laws have been successful in stopping air pollution levels from rising.
However, in developing countries and even in countries where pollution is strictly regulated,
much more needs to be done.

Ways to reduce pollution in the environment :

• As we continue to live and breathe on this same planet, we must become more
energy conscious, if we are to continue to live and breathe on this planet! Use of
natural resources, consumption and waste are all at peak levels, and rising. It is up
to each of us to act individually and together to effect change that will make the
planet habitable in the years to come. While wars are devastating to humankind,
the blatant misuse of energy and resources potentially threatens our long-term
survival as a species. It is by conserving energy at home, and growing an
environment consciousness in our communities, that we can turn around the dire
situation that the world is in now. We must act now!

Here then is a compendium of ten things that you can do today, or this week, to
help reduce the impact you are having on the earth. As you go about
implementing these ideas into your life, it is important that you inspire others.
Please bring your attention to the personal enrichment that each of these items
brings to you. They are practices of awareness, of connecting with the
environment, and of hope. By embodying these qualities in our attitude, we create
a positive experience for ourselves and the people we that we touch.

Bring your own bag when you go grocery shopping. Many grocery stores sell
cloth bags, or you can just recycle ones that you already have. You can buy a
cloth bag online if you like, here. They are very sturdy, and hold as much as the
paper or plastic ones do.

• Park your car. Every mile driven in a typical car produces a pound of exhaust
waste, in the form of carbon dioxide. This amounts to tons of waste over a year.
There is a converter here, that will tell you about how much you can reduce
environmental pollution by driving less. There are benefits to not driving as well,
whether it is exercise and neighborly interactions when walking or biking; or time
to read or talk if carpooling or on the bus. And if you have to use your car (as I
feel I have to) combine errands, work and other activities to promote driving less

• Increase your awareness of electricity use. Turn off appliances and lights when
they are not in use. Be particularly aware of cable boxes, video boxes; and to a
lesser extent TVs and DVD players. They consume almost as much energy off as
they do when they are on! Anytime an appliance is off and there is a light or clock
going (like on a microwave) there is what is called a ghost load. Just unplug it
when not in use, or better yet put it on a power strip with an on/off switch. You'll

save energy, and cut down on the air pollution that electrical plants - that are often
coal powered - create.

• Eat less meat. The energy required to produce 1 calorie of beef is 18 TIMES
more than that required to make a calorie of wheat. It is mind boggling; however,
if we examine the water required to produce a pound of beef, it is just over 5200
gallons. The water pollution is one problem that is out of control when it comes to
the meat industry. Every meal that replaces meat with vegetables, beans or soy
protein, and grains makes a significant dent in the overall environmental picture.
One really good source of information here is a book by Michael Pollen called
The Omnivores Dilemma.

• Buy locally. Locally grown food travels at most a couple of hundred miles, and is
usually picked the day before, if not the day of, delivery. In contrast, the average
piece of produce found on your grocer's counter has traveled 1500 miles! In
addition, it often need some refrigeration and packaging to survive the 4 - 7 days
it takes before it gets there. And it's not just produce that is made locally; many
things you can get at the big box is either being made locally, or in those cases
where they aren't, they can often be purchased second hand. A lot of pollution can
be avoided by just buying locally whenever possible.

• Plant a tree. Start a garden! Planting a shade tree can significantly impact heating
bills once it reaches maturity. Planting a garden is a joyful activity that cuts down
on the energy needed to get vegetables to your table. If you don't have the room
for a garden, you can always grow sprouts in your house or apartment. They are
one of the most nutritious and easy to grow foods ever, containing not only
essential vitamins and minerals, but also life supporting qualities not readily
found in other foods.

• Reduce. Re-use. Recycle. Yes, it's cliché; but, putting it into action isn't. We don't
have to always buy something; and nine times out of ten I find that when I'm
confronted with the choice or desire to purchase, that simply breathing for a
moment is enough to satisfy me. There are many innovative ways to reduce; one
way is to purchase things in bulk, thereby cutting down on packaging and
expense. Another is to make certain that all batteries are properly recycled, and
then to replace the appliances that use them with corded varieties. Or, in the case
of remote controls and other items that don't have cords, to get batteries that can
be recharged at home.

• Join national groups to put pressure on governments and corporations to cut

down on their energy consumption. When a law like the one in Ireland is passed,
and literally billions of plastic bags are removed from the equation, it dwarfs what

the individual can do. Yet, it was individuals who created the law, lobbied for it,
and then signed it into action.

• Put less load on your furnace and air conditioner. Either by getting a more
efficient model, or by adjusting the thermostat. And while you're adjusting that
thermostat, don't forget the ones on your hot water heater (recommended to be set
at 120 degrees F.) and the refrigerator.

• Compost! Even the most diligent cook is going to come across a lot of scraps,
ends, peels and bruised produce that can't be prepared. And, often there are bits
and pieces of food that don't get eaten, and start to go bad. Starting a compost pile
in the back yard is just the thing for them! Easy to take care of, the rewards are
numerous. Healthier plants make for less pesticide use; and the compost can be
used anywhere, indoors or out. Apartment dwellers may find that their local city
has a composting program; or they can get an indoor composting unit.

• The threat of global warming is among the most important of all modern
environmental problems. There are a variety of ways of dealing with it, each
attempting to combat one of the many causes of global warming.

• The problems that cause global warming include overpopulation, deforestation,

ozone depletion, garbage dumping, and many others. These all have unique
solutions which are now being promoted by environmentalists.

• Certain laws and treaties are aimed at reducing the emission of pollutants that
result in global warming. In 1988, the International Conference on the Changing
Atmosphere drew scientists and decision makers from 48 countries.

• Some policies could successfully reduce global warming. Raising fossil fuel
prices, taxing emissions, and encouraging people to take environmentally friendly
action through such activities as planting trees will all help.

• Because many problems leading to global warming are caused or contributed to

by overpopulation, people are beginning to work to reduce family sizes. Family
planning services actually help in the fight against global warming.

• Education is a key method of reducing the greenhouse effect. By teaching people

about such things as deforestation, environmental activists hope to prevent the
problems that ultimately lead to global warming. Widespread media attention to
the global warming problem is also increasing awareness. This is causing both
individuals and governments to act more responsibly towards the environment.

Thus the emerging environmental problems of Dhanmondi and overall Dhaka must be taken
under priority consideration by government and individual level through creating awareness,
fulfilling the corporate social responsibility, personal efforts, discipline and following rules of
the uses, saving the green and planting more trees etc.