Thu, 18 April 2024
The Daily Ittefaq

Air Quality Report a wake-up call for Bangladesh

Update : 26 Mar 2024, 21:07

How does Bangladesh rank globally in air pollution? The answer is 'number 1'. Which country had the worst air quality in 2023? The answer is 'Bangladesh'. If you browse the website of 'IQAir', you can get these informations. 2023 IQAir World Air Quality Report says, Bangladesh (79.9 µg/m3) more than 15 times higher than the WHO PM2.5 annual guideline! 

It is to be noted that, PM stands for particulate matter, and 2.5 represents its size – 2.5 microns, or 1/30th the diameter of a single strand of hair. And it is PM2.5 pollution’s tiny size that makes it so deadly.

According to the report: while Bangladesh ranked first among the most polluted countries, it's capital city Dhaka ranked second among the most polluted cities.

The report by IQAir summarises PM2.5 air quality data from 7,812 cities spanning 134 countries, regions, and territories. It sourced the data from 30,000 air quality monitoring stations operated by research institutions, governmental bodies, universities and educational facilities, non-profit organizations, private companies, and citizen scientists. 

What is IQAir?

In it's website, IQAir defines itself as 'a Swiss technology company that empowers individuals, organizations and governments to improve air quality through information and collaboration.' Wikipedia says, 'IQAir is headquartered in Switzerland with major operations in Germany, the U.S., and China. It's an air quality technology company, specializing in protection against airborne pollutants, developing air quality monitoring and air cleaning products. IQAir also operates AirVisual, a real-time air quality information platform.'

What does IQAir’s annual report illustrate?

While many people are welcoming the IQAir report, a very few people are raising questions against this type of report. Like other research, IQAir reports obviously have some limitations but the report is a wake-up call for all. It finds that, tackling air pollution is inevitable for policymakers. Over the years, the report has come to be extensively quoted – last year it was cited some 4,000 times according to the spokesperson. 

As Global CEO of IQAir Frank Hammes states, "A clean, healthy, and sustainable environment is a universal human right. In many parts of the world the lack of air quality data delays decisive action and perpetuates unnecessary human suffering. Air quality data saves lives. Where air quality is reported, action is taken, and air quality improves".

Sr. Air Quality Scientist of Greenpeace International Aidan Farrow states, “In 2023, air pollution remained a global health catastrophe. IQAir’s global data set provides an important reminder of the resulting injustices and the need to implement the many solutions that exist to this problem.”

An average person can go up to two months without food, three days without water, but only a few minutes without air. Breathable air is essential to life, clean air is fundamental to health. Air pollution exposure contributes to one in eight deaths around the globe, according to estimates released in 2014 by the World Health Organization. So, we should take lessons from not only IQAir report, but from all reports regarding air pollution.

Tarique Choyon is a journalist and a columnist

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