Air Pollution in the Capital City of Bangladesh: Its Causes and Impacts on Human Health

Document Type : Original Research Paper


Department of Law, Daffodil International University, P.O. Box 1207, Dhaka, Bangladesh


Air is one of the precious natural resources that are essential for animal including the human being. It is also the most important gift of nature without which human cannot survive. Pollution in the urban areas like Cairo, Delhi, Mexico and Dhaka far surpasses the acceptable limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO). Urban air pollution in the South Asian region is approximated to cause more than 300,000 deaths and billions of cases of respiratory disease per year. In Bangladesh, about 200000 people die each year due to the air pollution as the WHO estimates in 2018. The air in Dhaka City, the capital of Bangladesh, has become worsen to a level that the city has been identified as one of the most polluted cities in the world. Taking the problem with utmost importance into consideration as it is related with the public health, air pollution is being treated as one of the priority issues. The level of pollution at roadside environment is deeply connected with the density of motor vehicles plying on the roads. This situation is expected to worsen further in the upcoming days due to the increasing number of motor vehicles resulted from rapid economic growth and industrialization. This paper aims to provide the present statues of the air pollution in Dhaka city and some specific recommendations for making the city as a better living place through reducing its air pollution.


Alam, M. J. B., Rahman, M. H. and Jaigirdar, M.A. (1999). Ambient Air Quality at Roadside in Dhaka City. J. Poll. Res., 18(2); 115-119.
Azkar, M.B.I., Chatani, S. and Sudo, K. (2012). Simulation of urban and regional air pollution in Bangladesh. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 117(7); 1-23.
Biswas, S.K. (2020). Impact of Unleaded Gasoline Introduction on the Concentration of Lead in the Air of Dhaka, Bangladesh. J. Air Waste. Manag. Assoc., 53 (11); 1355-1362.
Begum, B.A., Hossain, A., Saroar, G., Biswas, S.K., Nasiruddin, M., Nahar, N., Chowdury, Z., and Hopke, P.K. (2011). Sources of carbonaceous materials in the airborne particulate matter of Dhaka. Asia-Pacific J. Atmos. Sci., 5(4); 237‐246. Begum, B.A. and Hopke, P.K. (2018). Ambient Air Quality in Dhaka Bangladesh over Two Decades: Impacts of Policy on Air Quality. Aerosol Air Qual. Res., 18(1); 1910-1920.
Chafe, Z. A., Brauer, M., Klimont, Z., Van Dingenen, R., Mehta, S., Rao, S., Riahi, K., Dentener, F., Smith, K. R. (2014). Household Cooking with Solid Fuels Contributes to Ambient PM2 .5 Air Pollution and the Burden of Disease. Environ. Health Pers., 122(12); 1314–1320.
Carslaw, D.C. and Ropkins, K. (2012). Openair—an R package for air quality data analysis. Environ. Mod. Soft. 27(28); 52–61.
Dey, S., Tripathi, S.N., Singh, R.P. and Holben, B.N. (2005). Seasonal variability of the aerosol parameters over Kanpur, an urban site in Indo-Gangetic basin. Adv. Space. Res., 36(5); 778–782.
Dasgupta, S., Huq, M., Khaliquzzaman, M., Pandey, D. and Wheller, D. (2006). Indoor air quality for poor families: New evidence from Bangladesh. Indoor. Air., 16 (6); 426-444.
EEA, European Environment Agency. (2016, November 23). Air quality in Europe—2016 report, Luxembourg Publications Office of the European Union. Retrieved January 12, 2020, from: http://
Eva, A. (2018). A Handbook on Air Pollutants in Dhaka City. (Dhaka: Sufi Prokashoni)
Faiz, A., Weaver, C. S. and. Walsh, M. P. (1996). Air Pollution from Motor Vehicles: Standards and Technologies for Controlling Emissions (English). (Washington: The World Bank)
Flossmann, F.I., Hall, W. D., and Pruppacher, H. R. (2008). A theoretical study of the wet removal of atmospheric pollutants: Part-I. The redistribution of aerosol particles captured through nucleation and impaction scavenging by growing cloud drops. J. Atmos. Sci, 42(1); 583-606.
Franchini, M. and Mannucci, P.M. (2019). Impact on human health of climate changes. European J. Internal Med., 26(1); 1–5.
Gonzalez-Barcala, F.J., Pertega, S., Garnelo, L., Castro, T.P., Sampedro, M., Lastres, J.S., San-Jose, M.A., Bamonde, L., Valdes, L., Carreira, J.M. and Silvarrey, A.L. (2013). Truck traffic related air pollution associated with asthma symptoms in young boys: a cross sectional study. Pub. Health., 127(3); 275–281.
Kannan, S., Misra, D. P., Dvonch, J. T. and Krishnakumar, A. (2006). Exposures to airborne particulate matter and adverse perinatal outcomes: a biologically plausible mechanistic framework for exploring potential. Environ. Health. Perspect., 114(11); 1636-1642.
Khuda, K. E.
Pollution is licensed under a "Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0)"
Kan, H. and Chen, B. (2004). Particulate air pollution in urban areas of Shanghai, China: Health-based economic assessment. Sci. Total. Environ., 322(1-3); 71–79.
Khaliquzzaman, M., Kamijima, M., Sakai, K., Chowdhury, N.A., Hamajima, N. and Nakajima, T. (2007). Indoor air pollution and its impact on children under five years old in Bangladesh. Indoor Air., 17(4); 297-304. Lin,Y., Zhou, L., Xu, J., Luo, Z., Kan, H., Zhang, J., Yan, C. and Zhang, J. (2017). The impacts of air pollution on maternal stress during pregnancy. Sci. Reports., 7, 40956. doi: 10.1038/srep40956
Lawrence, M. G., and Lelieveld, J. (2010). Atmospheric pollutant outflow from southern Asia: a review. Atmos. Chem. Phys., 10(1); 11017–11096.
Mahmud, I. (2011, December). Air pollution cost TK 124 billion a year in Dhaka city. (Paper presented at the 4th. Annual Meeting of the Dhaka Public Health Association, Dhaka)
Mathuros, R., Daam, S., Panida, N., Jantamas. T., and Herman, A. (2018). Assessment of Potential cancer risk in children exposed to urban air pollution in Bangladesh. UITS. J., 2(1); 25-32.
McCreanor, J., Culligan, P. and Nieuwenhuijsen, M. J., Stewart-Evans, J., Malliarou, E., Jarup, L., Harrington, R., Svartengren, M., Han, I., Ohman-Strickland, P., Chung, K. F. and Zhang, J. (2007). Respiratory effects of exposure to diesel traffic in persons with asthma. N. Engl. J. Med., 357(23); 2348–2358. Nishimura, K., Galender, J. M., Roth, L. A., Sam. S.O., Thakur., Elizabeth. A., Nguyen., Thyne, S., Harold. J., Farber., Serebrisky, D., Kumar, R., Brigino-Buenaventura, E., Davis, A., Michael. A., LeNoir., Meade, K., Rodriguez-Cintron, W., Pedro, C., Avila., Luisa. N., Borrell., Bibbins-Domingo, K., Jose. R., Rodriguez, S., Sen, S., Lurmann, F., Balmes, J. R. and Burchard, E. G. (2013). Early -Life Air Pollution and Asthma Risk in Minority Children-The GALA II and SAGE II Studies. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care. Med., 188(3); 309–318.
Pawar, H., Garg, S. and Kumar. V. (2015). Quantifying the contribution of long-range transport to particulate matter (PM) mass loadings at a suburban site in the north-western Indo-Gangetic Plain (NW-IGP). Atmos. Chem. Phys., 15(16); 9501–9520.
Rana, M. M., Sulaiman, N. B., Sivertsen, M. F. and Nasreen, S. (2016). Trends in atmospheric particulate matter in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and the vicinity. Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res., 23(1); 17393–17403.
Salam, T. H., Siddique, M.N.A. and Alam, A. M. S. (2008). Characteristics of atmospheric trace gases, particulate matter, and heavy metal pollution in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Air Qual. Atmos. Health., 1(2); 101–109.
Singh, N. R., Sharma, D. and Singh, D. (2015). Inter and intra-annual variability in aerosol characteristics over northwestern indo-gangetic plain. Aero. Air Qual. Res., 15 (1); 376–386.
World Health Organization (2018). World Report 2018, Annual review of human rights around the globe [Electronic Version]. Retrieved March 11, 2019 from:
Zaidi, S. M., Moin, O. and Khan, J. A. (2011). Second-hand smoke in indoor hospitality venues in Pakistan. Int. J. Tuberc. Lung. Dis., 15(7); 972-977.