Dhaka – One in every four children of the city faces abnormal lung functioning due to ambient air pollution, says a new study, UNB news agency has reported.
Collecting 500 samples from four different age groups, mostly from the 10-20 age group, during January and February 2016 in the capital, the study found that around 24 percent of city dwellers are suffering from abnormal lung functioning.
Bangladesh University’s Urban Lab conducted the study aiming to test the pulmonary function of city dwellers according to age and gender.
The findings of the study titled ‘Impact of Air Pollution on Public Health’ were disclosed at a programme jointly organised by the Bangladesh University and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) at Krishibid Institution in the capital on Thursday.
Pediatric specialist of Dhaka Shishu Hospital Md Ruhul Amin said city dwellers have been suffering from various diseases like pneumonia, asthma and heart diseases caused by air pollution.
Citing the study findings, he said abnormal lung functioning was found more among women than men, and the lung dysfunction is on the rise in line with the growing age. “Air pollution is the main reason behind people’s abnormal lung functioning,” the pediatrician said.
Clean air is considered to be a basic requirement of human health and well-being. However, air pollution continues to pose a significant threat to health worldwide.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the evidence on airborne particulate matter (PM) and its public health impact is consistent in showing adverse health effects at exposures that are currently experienced by urban populations in both developed and developing countries.
The PM 2.5, the finest particles which can reach to the blood of human body, was found on average about 200 25 μg/m3 (24-hour) during January 2016, says the study.
But, as per the WHO guidelines of air pollution, permissible level of PM 2.5 is 25 μg/m3 on 24-hour.
National Professor Brig (retd) Abdul Malik said air pollution is not only causing harm to lung of people but also air pollutants enter human body with food stuff and water.
Warning that air pollution may affect the pregnancy of women and child growth, he said smoking along with air pollution must be checked to avoid those health hazards.
DNCC mayor Annisul Huq said the children, who are now experiencing abnormal lung function due to air pollution, may suffer from it until their death.
To prevent air pollution in the city, he said, all the city dwellers should come forward to help the city corporations check construction waste and manage solid and medical wastes properly.
The air quality in Dhaka city has been deteriorating due to the release of air pollutants by a number of motorised vehicles on roads, lack of proper traffic management, improper land use planning and construction activities.
According to a WHO assessment of the burden of disease due to air pollution, more than 2 million premature deaths each year can be attributed to the effects of urban outdoor air pollution and indoor air pollution. More than half of this disease burden is borne by the populations of developing countries.