Dhaka city dwellers are at severe health risks due to air and plastic pollution caused by fast-growing urbanisation and industrialisation.

Besides, the use of plastic products among the citizens is increasing day by day while waste management is not being done accordingly. The pollution also causes economic losses.

The issues were discussed at a knowledge-sharing workshop with journalists titled ‘Promoting Green Cities through Awareness Building on Air and Plastic Pollution’ organised by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in the city on Sunday.

Deaths from diseases linked to air pollution have risen by 9 per cent over the past 20 years, according to a keynote presentation of the CPD.

The Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) study estimated that the citizens of Dhaka city are losing more than eight years of life expectancy on an average.

Air pollution is increasing in the city mainly due to poorly maintained building construction activities and operation of unfit motor vehicles, speakers viewed at the event.

Poor air quality has significant health impacts that cause different diseases including type-2 diabetes, lower respiratory infection, pulmonary diseases, ischemic and cardiovascular diseases, lung cancer, and chronic heart diseases, the speakers stated.

Particulate matter pollution may even affect the neurological system of the newborns and exposure to unclean air may induce diseases increasing healthcare cost for individuals, they noted.

Each citizen had to spend an average of Tk8,334 on healthcare out of pocket because of air pollution-induced diseases in 2019, says the keynote presentation. More than 10 million people in Dhaka city are exposed to poor air quality, shows data of Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS).