Saturday, December 15, 2018 | ePaper

What are we breathing in!

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Professor Dr. Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder and Kazima Khatun
The air of our surroundings is not as pure as it needs to be. Everyday air is getting polluted by human activities such as industrial production, vehicles emission, and brick-making kilns and also from natural phenomenon as like- blowing dust particles. But the human activities influence the pollution mostly as environmental scientists said in 1999 that in the high amount of lead in the atmosphere from gasoline, ceramics, paints, batteries etc. are factors in air pollution. Bangladesh is a developing country where environmental pollution becomes a burning issue. Among the pollutions, air pollution becomes the priority throughout the world. Where Bangladesh is ranked as the third position in the world's most air-polluted city according to WHO (World Health Organization).
In Bangladesh, it is a country of rapid growth in population and in development. Along with the increasing population and development, there are many factors which are increasing the risk of polluted air. As there is doing much-developing work and for increased population building more buildings so the brick-making kilns are producing not only bricks but air pollutants also. Most of these kilns use coal and wood as their sources of energy, resulting in the emission of particulate matter, oxides of sulfur, and volatile organic compounds, which are very toxic to our environment as well as to our health. The people who are working in those kilns and the surrounding areas face many chronic diseases which are caused by cancer also.
Additionally, vehicles emission is one of the major sources of air pollutants in the city. The vehicles get its energy from burning of fossil fuel such as petrol, diesel, and alternative-fuel engines and batteries, consequences of emissions from this are CO2, Carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, and unburnt hydrocarbons are gases, are generally invisible and other particular matters. Low-quality vehicles emit this pollutant more than modern technological vehicles. Moreover used rubber wheels of vehicles are burnt, which produce black carbon and toxic gases.
This vehicle's emission gases are threats to human health as like heart diseases, respiratory problems, while long-term exposure may affect lung function and increase the response to allergens in sensitive people and in the chronic stage, this disease becomes cancer. This pollutant is also threat to our environment as all of them are GHGs.
On the other side, industrial emission and technological emissions are also responsible for our air pollution. In the production process, prime sources of energy are fossil fuel and electricity. From the burning of this fuel, many types of greenhouse gases and volatile organic compounds and other particles released into the atmosphere. Beside it, those gases are very poisonous to living things and especially to human health which not only affects those occupational people but local people also.
This is just the outdoor air pollutions but there is also indoor air pollution occurs.
There are some sources in our houses from where the indoor air contaminates with pollutants. Indoor air pollution includes the household places, commercial buildings, and others buildings. From the burner or stove in our houses, smoking inside the places, spoiled organic wastes, using pesticides to kill insects in our houses etc. are the factors affecting the indoor air pollution. Burning inside of the houses, it releases the co2 which remains a long time inside it.
 From the spoiled organic wastes, methane gases release inside the house and using pesticides increases the aerosols. These impacts on our health as a problem in skin, brain, nerves system and respiratory system, which in long term it can be caused to cancer.    
The Dhaka city and along with other metropolitan city's air pollution is responsible for a great health impact. From the emission of those gases, volatile compounds and other particles, the air of the city getting poisonous and turning into inhabitable place. In the pollutants, Nitrogen dioxide causes respiratory infection.
Carbon monoxide reduces delivery of oxygen into the human body, creates a severe headache and decreases visual perception and manual dexterity.
The ingested lead is deposited in bones and tissues causing brain and kidney damages. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), globally air pollution caused 4.2 million deaths and indoor pollution caused 3.8 million deaths in 2016 and More than 37,000 Bangladeshis die annually from diseases related to this pollution.
Air pollution has become a very concerning issue to have a better and healthy life.
It's caused to a lot of diseases and threats to the environment. Dhaka is already realized to how poisoning the life is getting and the degradation of environment occurring from the latest database of WHO in world air pollution. Our government should take some serious and effective steps regarding air pollution as like improving traffic system, banned all the low-quality vehicle, funding more on air quality assessment, creating a national air quality monitoring center and a sustainable development to our country.
Accordingly, the writers are associated with teaching and research in Department of Environmental Science at Stamford University Bangladesh.

(Contact:  Professor Dr. Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder, Chairman, Department of Environmental Science, Stamford University Bangladesh, Cell no: 01712017725, E-mail: kamrul_sub@hotmail.com)

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