Air pollution is responsible for about 20 percent of the total premature deaths in Bangladesh, says a World Bank report.
The report titled ‘Striving for Clean Air: Air Pollution and Public Health in South Asia’ mentions that air pollution is liked to 20 per cent or one in every five of total premature deaths in Bangladesh.
An estimated 2 million people die a premature death every year due to air pollution that causes a significant economic loss as well, according to a press release issued by the WB on Tuesday.
World Bank country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan Abdoulaye Seck said that air pollution posed a serious threat to public health and had major consequences on economic growth.
‘To improve air quality, strong national actions and transboundary solutions will be important. Through analytical work and new investments, the World Bank is helping Bangladesh reduce air pollution,’ he added.
To achieve greater progress, the focus of policymakers should expand into other sectors, particularly small manufacturing, agriculture, residential cooking, and waste management, according to the release.
It said that concentrations of fine particulate matters such as soot and small dust in some of the country’s most densely populated and poor areas were up to 20 times higher than the standard set by the World health Organisation.
South Asia is home to 9 of the world’s 10 cities with the worst air pollution, and Dhaka is one of them, mentioned the WB report.
The report also showed affordable solutions to achieve clean air through adopting coordinated policies and investments.
Cecile Fruman, World Bank director for Regional Integration for South Asia, said that air pollution was trans-boundary.
‘South Asian Countries in the same airshed – common geographical areas that share the same air quality – can reduce the alarming level of air pollution only by taking a coordinated approach,’ Cecile added.
Exposure to such extreme air pollution has impacts ranging from stunting and reduced cognitive development among children, respiratory infections and chronic and debilitating diseases, said the report.