Towards greener environmental practices
Bipasha Dutta |
Dec. 25, 2021, 9:01 p.m.
Urban areas of Bangladesh, especially Dhaka, have experienced a rapid increase in air pollution, especially during the dry seasons. Over the past three years, Dhaka has been repeatedly dubbed the most polluted city (AQI-US) in the world. In addition, Dhaka has consistently remained in the top 5 with emissions from brick kilns, rapid construction, and increased vehicle use.
Exposure to air pollution has adverse health effects, with varying degrees of respiratory complications, for example, asthma, lung inflammation and cancer. While air pollution negatively affects the population of Bangladesh in general, its impact is greatest among the most vulnerable segments i.e. pregnant women and children. Pregnant women exposed to common air pollutants are more likely to give birth prematurely and have small children with low birth weight.
Due to the impact on health, air pollution also affects the economy of Bangladesh. Health complications for adults lead to increased sick days, reduced productivity, and for children, absences from school and lack of participation in essential cognitive development activities, which have negative effects on children. short and long term on the national economy. In addition, due to the rapid economic growth in urban areas, especially Dhaka city, there is currently an increase in rural exodus which is expected to increase further in the future.
In this context, the consulting firm INSPIRA in collaboration with World Vision Bangladesh carried out research which identified the following possible solutions to combat urban air pollution:
First, create guidelines to control emissions from industries and identify green manufacturing practices.
While brick making is the main contributor (60%) to air pollution in urban areas, other industries such as metals and cement production also have significant negative externalities. Although air quality issues are included in the Environment Conservation Act 1995 and the Environment Conservation Rules 1997, there is currently no stand-alone law dealing with the deterioration of air quality due to emissions. industrial.
Collaboration with industry experts, academics and representatives of global industry would be needed to explore potential policy suggestions that would address specific components of the industrial process.
To meet the challenges, interventions to limit or regulate industrial emissions through regulations will potentially incur monitoring costs at producer level and may meet resistance. Another point of resistance would be – Bangladesh’s emission levels compared to other countries are relatively insignificant and therefore do not require immediate interventions and a significant amount of our pollution comes from across the borders. However, environmentalists and academics argue that the health burden resulting from inhaling emissions from industries and brickyard manufacturers is of top priority and, therefore, requires immediate government attention.
Second, the commissioning of an interactive application with an easy-to-use user interface for the citizens of Bangladesh.
The application should be associated (to relevant degrees) with national bodies working in the field of air pollution. The app can be centrally managed by these national bodies and provide people with regular updates on the air quality in their respective areas. There should also be a mechanism for ordinary citizens to anonymously report various pollutants, emission sources, unauthorized waste sites, improper waste management to their local authorities who will be able to deal with it. The app may also have an interactive feature that allows members of specific communities to learn about activities aimed at combating air pollution in their own areas and show them how to participate. At the same time, the social features should allow citizens to publish their green activities and share eco-lifestyle ideas and tips with others in their area.
However, the study also found a limitation of the suggested solutions. A common mistake is making too many promises and trying to send too much data too quickly. Instead, a good place to start would be to establish daily / weekly / monthly data release schedules and move the schedule forward as technology advances. In the case of hearing capacity, it is important to remember that this is about informing the public, not forcing them to act. Third, promote the use of hybrid and electric vehicles through support for technology transfer and support for capacity development.
About 95 percent of all cars currently in use in the country are either reconditioned or used. Therefore, vehicle emissions, especially such vehicles, are of great concern. Rapid technology transfers can help members of the automotive industry make more environmentally friendly decisions. And a targeted approach to capacity development would promote the inclusion of various underserved segments of the population.
Nonetheless, attempts to limit the use of reconditioned vehicles may meet with initial resistance due to the high revenues the government derives from this sector. In addition, the majority of auto companies nationwide sell reconditioned vehicles and therefore significant resistance is expected.
In short, the process of tackling urban air pollution requires constant steps from several angles. Policy-level interventions are needed to reduce the sources of pollutants. These should aim to adopt global best practices in the main polluting activities. In addition, it is possible and necessary to educate the general public about the various components of air pollutants, including sources, ways to reduce emissions, ways to control existing pollutants and to adopt green lifestyles. These programs should aim to educate the population and bring about lasting behavior change. Finally, there must be a more coherent evolution at the national level towards greener and environmentally friendly practices. It also requires capacity development at all levels, including lower income groups, so that greener alternatives become more accessible for all.
Bipasha Dutta is Manager, Strategy, Innovation and Knowledge Management, World Vision Bangladesh. [email protected]