Rain is relief, rain is pain in Dhaka

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Desk Report:

When there is a brief spell of shower during the sultry weather in Dhaka, the city dwellers welcome it as they can have a sigh of relief from perennial dust menace as well as scorching heat which exactly happened on Tuesday.

After days of scorching heat, a dust storm coupled with light rains swept over different parts of the capital around noon, offering much-sought relief to the city residents.

But experts fear the things will start getting worse in case of heavy rain with many areas getting swamped with rainwater like previous years due to poor drainage system and unplanned city development works.

They also said the severity of dust pollution eases during the rainy season, but it is a matter of deep concern that there is no visible step by the authorities concerned to check the air pollution instead of only looking up at nature to solve this problem for a while.

According to them, the air pollution originating from construction work-related processes like concrete crushing, cement batching and road stone plants, is depriving the city dwellers of breathing in fresh air.

Mercury to fall slightly 

Amid a mild heat wave sweeping over Dhaka and some other parts of the country, the capital city experienced 3.2mm of rain on Tuesday.

Talking to UNB, Abdur Rahman, a meteorologist at the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD), said a trough of westerly low lies over West Bengal and adjoining area and a seasonal low over southern Bay of Bengal, which may induce rain over parts of the country, including the capital.

He said light rain or thunder shower accompanied by temporary gusty wind is likely to occur in the city on Wednesday as well.

Due to the rain, he said, the mercury will continue to fall slightly over the last two or three days.

Rahman said the mercury was maintaining its upward trend for the last few days as a mild heat wave prevailing over different parts of the country, including Dhaka, making the daily life miserable.

He said the city’s temperature was recorded 36.4 degrees Celsius on Monday while 34.4 degrees Celsius on Sunday and 34.1 degrees Celsius on Saturday.

During the rain, many city dwellers were seen out on the streets and on rooftops, getting drenched in the rain.

Rain Eases Dust Hazard

Today’s light showers gave the city dwellers a bit respite from dust pollution which turned an acute the city for various reasons, including unplanned construction works and lack of maintenance and proper steps by the authorities concerned to cheek it.

Urban experts and green activists aid the road dust has become the biggest source of pollution in the capital, posing a severe health threat to city dwellers.

Talking to UNB, Dr Mahfuzur Rahman Bhuiyan, a former national consultant of World Health Organisation, said the number of patients suffering from respiratory diseases such as emphysema, bronchitis and asthma have increased in the city due to the growing dust pollution.

Contacted, urban expert and ex-chairman of University Grant Commission Prof Nazrul Islam said there are no effective efforts visible by the authorities concerned to check air pollution. “Today’s rain has brought a bit of relief from dust pollution, but we should not depend on nature for resolving this problem.”

He said it is possible to control the unusual growth of dust, if the authorities concerned, including the city corporations, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) and Dhaka Wasa, perform their duties properly.

Bapa general secretary MA Matin said dust pollution can be controlled to some extent if the Department of Environment enforces the relevant laws during the construction of buildings and roads.

He also suggested using modern techniques for cleaning city roads, spraying water to stop dust from spreading during construction works and keeping construction materials and sites under cover.

Heavy Rain Still a Big Concern

Though the Managing Director (MD) of Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (DWASA) Taqsem A Khan recently said the Dhaka City is likely to face less waterlogging this season, experts said things will not improve much as most of the projects taken by the government to repair roads and drains remain half done.

Besides, they said, the one-third areas of the two Dhaka city corporations are still not under the coverage of drainage system due to lack of canals while the drains and storm-sewerage lines remain clogged with waste for not cleaning those regularly, creating waterlogging and serious gridlocks after a short spell of heavy rainfall.

Contacted, Prof Sarwar Jahan of Buet’s Urban and Regional Planning (URP) department said rainwater flow is being obstructed due to unplanned urbanisation, construction of rods and houses and other structures occupying canals and water bodies.

Prof Nazrul Islam said the city drainage system cannot work properly for lack of maintenance and monitoring, causing waterlogging.

He said a single agency should be entrusted with the responsibility for maintaining the city’s drainage system to ensure its better management.unb

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