Bangladesh & Dhaka Air Quality – 2020 Update

Reports of Dhaka and Bangladesh’s air pollution being the ‘worst’ in the world feature often in the news. But how much of a problem is air pollution in Bangladesh and Dhaka, really?

Bangladesh Dhaka air pollution worst in world

This article provides an overview of Bangladesh’s air pollution: how bad is Bangladesh and Dhaka’s air pollution and AQI, where does it come from, and how to protect yourself from dirty air in Bangladesh.

What Is ‘Air Pollution’ in Dhaka?

Most of the time people mean particulate matter or PM2.5 when referring to Bangladesh and Dhaka’s air quality. PM2.5 are particles measure 2.5 microns and smaller in diameter that float in the air. Data shows that it’s this size of particulate that can enter the blood stream and cause health effects such as lung disease and heat attacks.

WATCH: What Are the Health Effects of PM2.5?

5 Things You Should Know about PM2.5 Air Pollution

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More often that not, it’s PM2.5 that causes Dhaka’s bad air quality, and is what creates a haze over Dhaka and much of Bangladesh.

Dhaka Bangladesh air pollution levels and effect on health heart attack lung disease

How Bad is Air Pollution in Dhaka?

Smart Air analysed PM2.5 air quality levels for Dhaka, Bangladesh from 2016 to 2020. Data shows that PM2.5 air quality averages 86 micrograms over this time.

That’s almost nine times the World Health Organisation annual limit of 10 micrograms, and puts Dhaka, Bangladesh’s air quality as some of the worst in the world.

Bangladesh Dhaka PM2.5 air pollution annual air quality level-2020

Looking at Dhaka’s 2019 air pollution levels down into AQI levels, Dhaka saw only 13 days with ‘good’ air quality (AQI) range. Almost one in every five days had hazardous AQI air pollution.

Bangladesh Dhaka air quality number of polluted days

Read more: These are the three major sources of Bangladesh’s air pollution »

Bottom Line: Air Pollution in Dhaka

Dhaka’s PM2.5 concentration averaged 86 micrograms in 2019. That’s almost nine times the WHO recommended level. Steps should be taken to protect against Dhaka and Bangladesh’s high air pollution levels.

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How I Protect Myself From Bangladesh’s Air Pollution

With only 13 days of ‘good’ air pollution in Dhaka in 2019, it’s important to protect against the pollution. Here are some steps I’ve taken to protect myself from air pollution in Dahka:

  • Monitor pollution levels and adjust outdoor time accordingly. Free apps such as Plume give hourly AQI forecasts. On days with the high levels of pollution (e.g. above 100 AQI) it may be best to stay inside. On days when the AQI is below 50, go outside and enjoy!
  • Keep windows and doors closed. Data shows that with doors and windows closed, indoor air pollution levels are approximately 50% of outdoor levels. 
  • Use an air purifier inside to filter out the fine particles that continue to penetrate despite closing off openings.

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