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US expert for better technology to reduce air pollution in Bangladesh

  • Published at 06:59 pm July 24th, 2019
Air pollution
File photo: Bangladesh, one of the most densely-populated countries in the world, has been struggling with air pollution for a long time, while Dhaka has continued to rank among the most polluted cities Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

He made the suggestion at an informal interactive session with journalists, at the EMK Centre in Dhaka on Wednesday

Bangladesh needs to introduce better technology in a manner that will reduce air pollution and improve air quality, says US Science Envoy for Air Quality, Prof Dr James Schauer.

He made the suggestion at an informal interactive session with journalists, at the EMK Centre in Dhaka on Wednesday to help them understand the issue from a multi-dimensional perspective and make people more aware.

During the session, organized by the US Embassy in Dhaka, Schauer said that people always generalize the sources of pollution, but they should be addressed from different perspectives in line with the process of the nation’s transformation.

He said if air pollution were managed in economically viable ways like it’s done in the United States, the pollution rate could certainly come down in Bangladesh too.

He admitted that the use of power and energy was needed. “But if we have a facility to make it viable, I suggest using better technology there to reduce the pollution,” he added, but did not elaborate.

Schauer said it would also be better to use technology and vehicles that pollute air at the lowest rate possible.

He said a combination of technological and behavioral solutions was needed to reduce pollution.

As one of the most densely-populated countries in the world, Bangladesh has been struggling with air pollution for a long time, with the capital Dhaka continuously ranking among the world’s most polluted cities.

Recently, Dhaka city’s air quality has been declining, leaving experts and the general public concerned.

The capital, where about 15 million people live, hit by extreme air pollution, ranked third-worst on the world Air Quality Index (AQI) in May. AirVisual, which monitors global air quality, had also classified Dhaka’s air quality as “unhealthy.”

However, the city on Wednesday ranked 28th in the AQI, scoring 65, thanks to rain showers during the day.

Answering another question, Schauer, also director of the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, said the major part of air quality management was to verify exactly how the sources were contributing.

“One of the critically important things is that there is a great need for a developed monitoring system to measure the composition of particles, which tells us what the sources are, so we can verify that.”

The important part of air quality  management is verifying the sources as policies are passed, he said.

Many say that a huge amount of money is being invested to protect the air, but that would save huge amounts of money by reducing medical treatment costs, Schauer added.

He also said that the people of Bangladesh, including its politicians, understand the adverse impacts of air pollution more than their counterparts in neighboring countries.

However, all the South Asian countries have become better than before in tackling air pollution in the last two or three years, he added.

Asked if Bangladesh was on the right track, the air quality expert said what mattered most was pushing the government in the right direction to take proper steps to reduce air pollution as soon as possible.

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