During this winter, we are facing dust related problems in most parts of Bangladesh. This is leading to seasonal illnesses for people. We asked our readers if they thought this dust problem can be tackled.
In 2014, some of us in Chittagong demonstrated with a human chain trying to spread the message: ‘We want to breathe pure air’. What is the situation now? Still the same. We cannot breathe freely. Construction work goes on all the time in the whole city. During the rainy season, all the dust is washed away. But again where are they coming from?
We see construction materials being carried on open trucks and vans. Sands and broken brick particles are stacked by the roads. Lately these sands and bricks get crushed by vehicles and fly into the atmosphere. Sometimes construction materials, kept on busy roads, turns to dust.
We need to take care of these problems to decrease the dust menace. We can assign workers to clean roads more.
Though Chittagong is widely known as one of the healthy cities in Asia, this fame has most likely been spoilt by the dust problem. During the dry and cold spells of winter, the city-dwellers become the unwanted victims of this problem. Even face-masks can do little against this dust. The situation is worse on the busy Chittagong- Cox’s Bazar highway. Houses, shops, trees etc on both sides of the road are usually coated with dust. Particularly people living near the roads and across Chittagong city have been increasingly affected by cold, nasal congestion, fever, asthma and respiratory problems. Furthermore, construction of overbridges in many areas, like Muradpur, CDA Avenue, is further aggravating the problem.
I live in Mirpur and currently three big government projects are progressing on our roads at the moment. The roads have been cut for Metro Rail, WASA and to install electric cables. The dust is just unbearable. The authorities can minimise the spread of dust particles by finishing the work quickly with more workers and using more machinery. The parts which have been completed should be mended immediately. Another important observation is that every day road-cleaners pile dust on the road but these are not collected properly…
Dust problem is a serious issue during winter in Bangladesh and more so in Dhaka. I think watering the roads occasionally is a good solution. Usually we see shopkeepers doing this when their shops are too close to dusty roads. Places like Dhaka, where smog and dust is a part of everyday life, demand more attention. The amount of construction work done in winter should be decreased especially if it is being done on busy roads. And planting more trees on the gravelly soil would make the soil more humid and less likely to cause dust issues.
Every year, we face this problem. It gets so unbearable that I am forced to use masks even. Without these, I am likely to be affected by dust allergy and other diseases. I believe, in order to get rid of the dust problem, officials from the city corporations should spray water on the roads more frequently every day..