Hazardous Particulates Detected in the Air in Rajshahi

Rajshahi, March 20 (BPUSS/OurVoice): On behalf of Barindra Poribesh Unnayan Sechchashebi Sangstha (BPUSS), in collaboration with Barind Environment, recently has measured the amount of particles in the air at various places in the eco-friendly city of Rajshahi. 

During the daytime air quality was checked from Railgate, Talaimari, Shaheb Bazar Zero Point and Laxmipur Circle as crowded places and near BSCIC Moth Pukur considering an industrial area. Engr. Md. Zakir Hossain Khan (Ph.D.) led the test. He was assisted by Oli Ahmed (Ph.D. researcher), Shamsur Rahman Sharif, Ifat Ara, Obaidulla and others.

The main purpose of the air test was to observe the particulate matter present in the air of Rajshahi at the end of the dry season. Existing PM2.5 and PM10 were determined during this study. According to S.R.O.220-Law/2005 of Bangladesh and Environmental Conservation Rules 1997 of Bangladesh, the prescribed volume of air in Bangladesh is 75 µg/m3 for PM2.5 and 150 µg/m3 for PM10 for 24 hours. The maximum PM2.5 and PM10 were found in the test at the Talaimari Circle at 76 and 85 µg/m3 respectively. The maximum PM2.5 obtained is slightly higher than the prescribed density of Bangladesh but the maximum PM10 obtained is much less than the prescribed density. Measured PM2.5 and PM10 near Shaheb Bazar Zero Point was 54µg/m3 and 66µg/m3; near BSCIC Moth Pukur was 56 µg/m3 and 68 µg/m3; near Laxmipur Circle was 70µg/m3 and 80µg/m3 and near Railgate was 72µg/m3 and 84µg/m3.

This measurement was carried out from 9:00 am to 01.00 pm and humidity was around 45%. Although PM10 concentration in the air of Rajshahi is very good. However, if we consider PM2.5 concentration, health of the people in Rajshahi city is on threat. PM2.5 is a stronger risk factor than the coarse part of PM10. Particles in the PM2.5 size range are able to travel deeply into the respiratory tract, reaching the lungs. Exposure to fine particles can cause health effects such as eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. The impacts of ambient PM2.5 on public health have become great concerns worldwide, especially in the developing countries. Epidemiological and toxicological studies have shown that PM2.5 does not only induce cardiopulmonary disorders and/or impairments, but also contributes to a variety of other adverse health effects, such as driving the initiation and progression of diabetes mellitus and eliciting adverse birth outcomes. Recent findings have demonstrated that PM2.5 may still pose a hazard to public health even at very low levels (far below national standards) of exposure.

(Ref: Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, Volume 128, June 2016, Pages 67-74)

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