Dhaka is one of the densely populated cities in the world. With the increasing population, various kinds of problems are rising in Bangladesh. Air pollution, noise pollution, increased motorized vehicles, congestion and road accidents are the main problems. According to World Health Organization, around 3 million people die every year throughout the world. In South-Asian region the rate is higher. We are aware of the condition in Delhi and Beijing. If we do not take initiative to reduce air pollution in Dhaka, soon it will be impossible to control it. On 23rd August 2017, Urban and Regional Planning Department, BUET; Department of Environmental Science, Stamford University and Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust jointly organized a seminar on ‘Increasing Motorization in Dhaka: Cost and Consequences’, where speakers expressed the above view.
Joseph Mclntyre and Steven Jones were the keynote speakers of the seminar. They said that, after conducting study in 12 areas in Dhaka, we have found out that, the amount of air pollution is highest in Mirpur 10 Circle, 172 µg/m3. The standard of Bangladesh is (PM2.5) 65µg/m3. Mirpur is basically a motorized vehicle dominating area. This is why air quality is worse here. On the other hand, Lalbagh BC Dash street is a non-motorized vehicle dominating area and the amount of air pollution is (PM2.5) 40µg/m3. Department of Urban and Regional Planning, BUET; Department of Environmental Science, Stamford University and Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust jointly measured air quality and did vehicle count in 12 areas of Dhaka. And it has been found out in the research that, increasing motorized vehicles are the reason of air pollution. And it is necessary to control motorized vehicles, especially private cars to control air pollution.
Ahmed Kamruzzaman Majumder, Chairman, Department of Environmental Science, Stamford University, said that, one of the reasons Dhaka losing its livability is air pollution. We have ignored walking, public transport and non-motorized transport in transport planning. As a result air pollution is increasing. We have conducted the research in rainy season. Air is less polluted at this time. Even then we have crossed the standard. If we conduct the research in winter, when air is more polluted, then we can easily imagine the condition of air.
Dr Muslehuddin Hasan, Associate Professor, Department of Urban and regional Planning, BUET, said that, to reduce vehicle induced air pollution, mixed land use should be ensured. Besides, it is also important to control private car and promote public transport, walking and cycling.
Farid Ahmed, Director, IT and Publicity, Department of Environment, said that, controlling air pollution is really necessary to save environment. As the numbers of motor vehicles have increased in Dhaka, so air pollution and noise pollution have increased too. Department of Environment is working to control noise pollution, others should be involved too.
Abu Naser Khan, Chairman, Poribesh Bachao Andolon, said that, pollution free environment is really essential for us. If we consider the health and environmental hazards of air pollution, then we should take steps to control private cars. More research should be done on air pollution. Universities should come forward in this regard.
The seminar was presided by Debra Efroymson, Regional Director, HealthBridge, said that, we focus on motorized vehicles in our transport plan, so that our pollution and congestion are increasing. The cities prioritizing livability focus on walking and cycling. If we focus on controlling private cars we will get some benefits.
The seminar was moderated by Maruf Hossain, Program Manager, Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust. Other speakers of the program were Aminur Rasul, Member Secretary, Unnayan Dhara Trust; Mahbubul Haque, Executive Director, BCHRD; Afsana Azad, Project Coordinator, CPD; Masum Billah Bhuiyan, Institute of Welbeing; Talukder Rifat Pasha, Asst Project Officer, Work for a Better Bangladesh Trust; Abul Hasnat, Modern Club; Solaiman Kabit, Space and many more.