At 8:55 am on Saturday (January 14), Dhaka city’s air quality was alarming. According to the Air Quality Index (AQI), a Swiss-based organization that deals with air quality, Dhaka’s air pollution score on Saturday morning was 247, while Delhi’s score of 204 was the second most polluted.

According to the AQI criteria, areas scored between 151 and 200 are considered ‘unhealthy’, 200 to 300 are ‘very unhealthy’ and 301 to 400 are considered ‘hazardous’, posing serious health risks to residents.

Delhi in India, Tashkent in Uzbekistan and Mumbai in India are ranked second, third and fourth in the AQI index with scores of 223, 166 and 165 respectively. A score between 101 and 150, on the other hand, is considered ‘unhealthy’, especially for sensitive groups.

Dhaka has been plagued with air pollution problems for a long time. Its air quality generally becomes unhealthy during winters and improves slightly during monsoons.

According to the World Health Organization, air pollution kills an estimated 7 million people worldwide every year. This increase in mortality is mainly due to stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections which are caused by polluted air.

(January 14)