Impact of vehicles on environmental pollution in Dhaka city and legal remedies

Repoter : News Room
Published: 31 March, 2024 1:15 pm

Al Mustashim Nobi Niku: Most of the vehicles play a major role in the capital’s environmental pollution. Although the documents are collected from BRTA, they do not have fitness in reality. They are emitting black smoke along with loud engine noise all the time.

On average, lakhs of mechanical vehicles ply in Dhaka city every day. A large proportion of these vehicles are responsible for air pollution. Harmful particles (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and ozone) are emitted from these motor vehicles.

Vehicles plying in the capital mainly use three types of fuel – diesel, petrol, and CNG. Pollutants found in diesel emissions include particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, organic toxins, and polynuclear aromatics. Pollutants emitted from petrol, octane, and CNG-powered vehicles include – Idle Carbon Monoxide and Idle Hydrocarbons. Due to these particles, the risk of cancer, heart disease, asthma, breathing problems, lung dysfunction, etc. has increased in the human body.[1]

Now let’s come to the position of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, in the world list in terms of environmental pollution. Air Quality Index (AQI) is a leading organization that researches air quality. According to the information published by the organization about some of the air quality, the position of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh in the list of polluted cities in the world –

On January 25, 2023, Air Quality Index (AQI) data released in the capital city of Dhaka was at the highest level of ‘risk’ with a score of 319.[2]

Dhaka was ranked second in the list of the world’s most polluted cities published on February 10, 2023. Air quality in the capital was ‘unhealthy’ with a score of 196 according to Air Quality Index (AQI) data on that day.[3]

On August 30, 2023, Dhaka was at the top of the list of the most polluted cities in the world. Air quality in the capital Dhaka was ‘unhealthy’ with a score of 176 as per Air Quality Index (AQI) data on this day.[4]

January 05, 2024, Dhaka’s air becomes unhealthy even in winter. On this day, Dhaka was at the top of the list of the most polluted cities in the world. The Air Quality Index (AQI) revealed that the capital’s air quality was in ‘very unhealthy’ condition with a score of 210.[5]

Air Quality Index (AQI), a research organization that lists polluted cities, says in its research that AQI scores between 101 and 200 are considered ‘unhealthy’ for sensitive groups. An AQI score between 201 and 300 is considered ‘very unhealthy’. In this situation, children, elderly, and sick patients are advised to limit their activities inside the house and outside the house. An AQI between 301 and 400, on the other hand, is considered ‘hazardous’, posing a serious health risk to residents.[6]

Now let’s take a look at the total size, population, and quality of life of Dhaka city, the vehicles used for transportation, and their impact on the environment.

The total area of ​​Dhaka district is 1463.60 sq km.[7] Dhaka metropolis is located in a large part of this area. The metropolis is divided into two parts, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC). These two city corporations (196.22 square kilometers in the north[8], and 109.251 square kilometers in the south[9]) together form the identity of the capital city.[10]

The population of Dhaka North City is 1 crore 6 lakh 26 thousand 17 people and the population of Dhaka South City is 75 lakh 58 thousand 25 people. According to that, the total population of the two city corporations is 1 crore 81 lakh people, although the actual number is much higher.[11]

By observing the vehicle usage data of this huge population, it can be seen that according to the data of 2018, there are 8 lakh 53 thousand 304 vehicles in the Dhaka metropolis. Out of this, 21 thousand 616 buses, 9 thousand 904 minibuses, 2 lakh 30 thousand 33 private cars, 3 lahks 31 thousand 7 hundred 46 motorcycles. There are also 2 lakh 87 thousand 5 other vehicles. 267 BRTC buses ply on various long-distance routes. Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader presented this account of vehicles in the fourth session of the 10th National Parliament.[12]

According to the DSCC website, there are a total of 993.45 kilometers of roads for these vehicles in Dhaka city. No matter how many roads there are in Dhaka’s metropolis, traffic jams are a constant companion.[13]

Apart from the approval of BRTA in densely populated areas of Dhaka metropolis, the number of illegally unfit vehicles is not in the possession of any organization. Air pollution is increasing in Dhaka city due to excess traffic pressure, engine heat, and due to the black smoke emitted by vehicles in large quantities, the balance of the environment is disturbed, and the air is polluted. As a result, health risks are increasing. We need to save the environment to sustain the existence of our public life. If we pay attention, we can see that a toxic environment is created around us every day for various reasons. Especially the environmental disaster of air pollution is increasing day by day. A major cause of suffering in urban life today is air pollution – which has made public life unbearable.

Like every country, our country also has several laws to protect the environment. Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act-1995, Environment Court Act-2010, Bangladesh Environment Conservation (Amendment) Act-2010.

Sub-section (1) of Section 6 of the Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act-1995 states that ‘Vehicles emitting fumes or gases injurious to health or the environment shall not be driven or operated in any manner other than for testing to stop such fumes or gases.’[14] A fine not exceeding 5 (five) thousand taka in case of the first offense; In case of the second offense not exceeding 10 (ten) thousand taka and in case of each subsequent offense not exceeding 1 (one) year imprisonment or fine of 20 (twenty) thousand taka or both.

The Writer is an Advocate, Judge Court, Pabna

[1]Banglatribune ‘Vehicles also pollute the air’ <> Published on March 25, 2016

[2] Somoynews ‘Dhaka again tops the list of air polluted cities in the world’ <> Published on January 25, 2023

[3] The Daily Star ‘Dhaka is the second most polluted city in the world, followed by Delhi’<> Published on February 10, 2023

[4] The Daily Star ‘Dhaka still tops the list of the world’s most polluted cities’ <> Published on August 30, 2023

[5] Jugantor ‘Dhaka is among the most polluted cities in the world’ <> Published on January 05, 2024

[6] Somoynews ‘Dhaka again tops the list of air polluted cities in the world’<> Published on January 25, 2023

[7] ‘Publication of the gazette by increasing the size of Dhaka City’<> Published on June 28, 2016

[8] Dhaka North City Corporation <> Accessed January 23, 2024

[9] Dhaka South City Corporation <> Accessed January 23, 2024

[10] ‘How many kilometers of roads in Dhaka?’<> Published on March 03, 2021

[11] ‘Publication of the gazette by increasing the size of Dhaka City’<> Published on June 28, 2016

[12] BBC News Bangla ‘Different types of vehicles in Dhaka, Bangladesh: Road management in crisis’<,%E0%A7%A8%E0%A7%AC%E0%A7%AD%E0%A6%9F%E0%A6%BF%20%E0%A6%AC%E0%A6%BF%E0%A6%86%E0%A6%B0%E0%A6%9F%E0%A6%BF%E0%A6%B8%E0%A6%BF%20%E0%A6%AC%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%B8%20%E0%A6%9A%E0%A6%B2%E0%A6%BE%E0%A6%9A%E0%A6%B2%20%E0%A6%95%E0%A6%B0%E0%A6%9B%E0%A7%87%E0%A5%A4> Published on September 05, 2018

[13] Jagonews ‘How many kilometers of roads in Dhaka?’ <> Published on March 03, 2021

[14] The Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act-1995 Section 6(1)