Improving air quality in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Authorities in Dhaka, Bangladesh, are working hard to reduce the exposure of the population to suspended particles, which mainly derive from vehicle pollution. On behalf of the World Bank, NILU is assisting Dhaka-authorities in evaluating the the citys air quality monitoring program and in the implementation of a system for air quality management.

In 2006, NILU was requested by The World Bank to review Dhaka´s program for Air Quality Monitoring, which has been ongoing since 2002.

The performance of the system as well as the utilization of the data generated needed to be assessed and evaluated.

NILU-experts have during the past year reviewed the existing Air Quality Management (AQM) activities in Dhaka and assisted in the development of criteria for site selection, development of databases for air quality and meteorological data, updating the training plan, introduced methods for the development of an emission inventory and assisted the AQMP staff in the use of dispersion models.

NILU has also reviewed the existing quality assurance (QA/QC) systems, evaluated the operations of measurements, assessed the current governmental AQM policies, plans and programmes and suggested future strategies and actions.

The main air pollution problem in Dhaka is suspended particles such as PM10 and PM2.5, but also NOX, NO2, CO, benzene and to some extent ozone.

Improving air quality in Dhaka, Bangladesh

An objective for air pollution control activities in Dhaka has been formulated for the AQMP project as follows:  ”to reduce the exposure of the population to vehicle pollution in a cost-effective manner”.

This implies that a complete air quality management system should be established in Dhaka. Assessment and planning will have to include all sources, and the goal of the activities in the long term must be clear.

As a result of the co-operation with local experts in Bangladesh a Memo of Understanding for future co-operative air quality research and development has been developed between NILU and the Air Quality Component of the Department of Environment inn Bangladesh.

Improving air quality in Dhaka, Bangladesh

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