‘Pollution is more on Elephant Road, less on Taj Mahal Road’

Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

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In 2020, the most polluted area in Dhaka was Elephant Road and the least polluted area was Taj Mahal Road in Mohammadpur. The Department of Environmental Sciences of Stamford University made the claim at a press conference at the Dhaka Reporters' Unity (DRU) on Saturday. A study by the Department's Atmospheric Pollution Study Center (CAPS) revealed such information. From January to December last year, the research team monitored the air quality in 70 places in Dhaka in 4 phases.

According to the research report, air pollution in Dhaka's Elephant Road area has increased by 83 percent in 2020. In 2019, the air quality in this area was 250 micrograms. And last year that quality reached 458 micrograms. The reason given is that the cleaning workers of the city corporation in this area collected garbage and set it on fire in a certain place. Then take that dirt to another place. That is why air pollution has increased here.

On the other hand, the less polluted area was Taj Mahal Road in Mohammadpur. The air quality here is 219 micrograms. As this area is residential and air pollution is less due to less noise.

The research team was headed by Professor Ahmed Kamruzzaman Majumder, Head of the Department of Environmental Sciences, Stamford University. He said, ‘Most of the dust in Dhaka city is generated from the streets. The source of this dust is vehicles, road ditches and various construction materials. Apart from Elephant Road, the reason for the increase in air pollution in New Market, Tejgaon and Abdullahpur, he said, is that the land in Tejgaon is changing and a lot of construction is going on. Besides, pollution has increased due to the work of Metro Rail in Abdullahpur.

Apart from the Taj Mahal Road in Mohammadpur, the air pollution in the Shishu  Hospital area of Agargaon and Road No. 23 in the D Block of Pallabi was relatively low, the study said. The reason given is that the Shishu Hospital area is somewhat secluded and the road area No. 23 of Pallabi is residential and there is no construction work so there is less air pollution.

Responding to a question, Ahmed Kamruzzaman Majumder, head of the research team, said, "The study used a New Zealand-made air meter called Aerocol." The average level of air pollution has been presented by testing four times at different times of the year in each place.

According to the study, air pollution in front of Bangladesh Secretariat, Gabtali bus stand and Tanti Bazar in old Dhaka has decreased in 2020 as compared to 2019. The Secretariat has declared the area a quiet area and has taken steps to control noise pollution. Besides, air pollution has been reduced due to discipline in car parking at Gabtoli bus stand and construction work has been reduced.

The area-wise map of air pollution shows that in 2020, as in 2019, there was more air pollution in Lalbagh, Hazaribagh, Kotwali, Kamrangirchar and Sutrapur around Old Dhaka. Besides, the level of air pollution has increased in Dhanmondi, Gulshan, Badda and Banani as compared to last year. However, air pollution in Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Pallabi and Cantonment areas of Dhaka North City Corporation has decreased compared to last year.

Mirpur had the highest air pollution last year. But this time the research report said that the road from Sangsad Bhaban to Mirpur No. 10 was dug in 2019. That's a little less than in 2020. Due to this, the air pollution in Mirpur has decreased a little.

Participating in the discussion, Sharif Jamil, general secretary of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan (BAPA), said, "Development cannot take place by threatening people's lives." Therefore, in the interest of development, environmental protection must be considered before taking up the project. Citing the Metrorail project as an example, he said, "Although it is a good project, it has increased air pollution in the capital due to a lack of planning."