There is a good reason to worry about the Air Quality in Dhaka, as Bangladesh ranks 169th (out of 178 countries) at the Environmental Performance Index for Air Quality (2014 score).
Furthermore, according to the most recent World Health Organization data, the air quality in Dhaka reaches an yearly average of 90 µg/m3 of PM2.5, which corresponds to a 168 - Unhealthy Air Quality Index. Obviously, 168 - Unhealthy is just a yearly average, and the air pollution can reach much higher 300+ hazardous levels.For more information, you can refer to this article about making bricks for Dhaka’s construction boom, which provides a very good insight about Dhaka's Air Pollution situation
National Monitoring Network
Back in 2009, the World Bank started a 7 years investement of US$ 62.20 million in the Clean Air and Sustainable Environment project (CASE) program. The objective was, among others, to get 11 Continuous Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAMS) installed in 8 cities to monitor major air pollutants and to generate real time air quality data including air quality index for major cities.
This was confirmed by this news from UNB which said that "A modern Air Quality Research and Monitoring Center (AQRMC) has been established at the center for Advanced Research in Sciences (CARS) of Dhaka University (DU)".
But yet, despite the good news from the World Bank, the Air Quality readings are not officially available, and the Air Quality Research and Monitoring Center (aqmcdu.edu.bd) is not giving much details... The website from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (পরিবেশ ও বন মন্ত্রণালয়-) moef.gov.bd is similarly not providing more information. As concerns the worldbank CASE project report, it is surprisingly laconic, despite having used more than $10 millions USD on the "Environment" sub-project.
Crowdsourcing a real Air monitoring Network that works
For this reason, we are now investigating with several Institutions, Universities, Schools as well as individual citizens living in Dhaka the possibility to setup an alternative and crowd-sourced Air Quality monitoring network, which would allow to broadcast free hourly AQI information for several locations in Dhaka, and later in other cities in Bangladesh.
The monitoring stations used for this network are the semi-professional GAIA A12 Air Quality monitoring stations. The Gaia A12 is much more affordable than the traditional monitoring station ($200 for the GAIA A12 while it is $10,000+ for the traditional ones), but yet with a data quality as good and reliable as the traditional stations.
If you are interested in knowing more about the project, about helping to host a station, or just about getting and rebroadcasting the real-time Air quality data, then please contact us with the form at the bottom of this page.