standard Air pollution: An old hazard with big consequences for Asia


The city of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Air pollution is a problem in many parts of the world, but especially India, China, Bangladesh and a number of other countries in Asia.  During the World Economic Forum it was announced that India has the world’s worst air quality.  Is the air pollution experienced in these countries primarily due to human activities such as heavy industry? Likely. A combination of emissions from vehicles, coal power plants and other sources is enough to make populations vulnerable to diseases caused by breathing in polluted air.  But it’s not like this is a new problem, many of the more developed countries have had similar if not the same problems with poor air quality and in many cases still do.  For example, London’s air decreases the life expectancy of its residents.


Haze over Indo-Gangetic Plain which includes northern and eastern India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. NASA

In developing countries, combine poor air quality due to rapid industrial expansion with growing populations and it can have serious public health consequences.  In Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, people are dying prematurely because of severe air pollution. So what are the solutions?  Higher environmental policy standards can certainly help.  But the fact remains that pollution is really simply the resources we are throwing away whether its carbon dioxide from automobiles and power plants or a wide range of other things people waste that could be used, not to mention food.  The solutions appear to lie in the very things people waste.  They cause problems because they are not used in ways that could benefit instead of harm.

References and Further Reading

India’s Air the World’s Unhealthiest, Study Says. NY Times

India tops China in air pollution level increase. Hindustantimes

Air pollution rising in Dhaka. Demotix

BANGLADESH: Air pollution choking Dhaka. IRIN

AOD Trends over Megacities Based on Space Monitoring Using MODIS and MISR. Scientific Research Open Access

A satellite’s view of ship pollution. NASA

London air pollution ‘worst in Europe’. Guardian

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