Bangladesh is suffering from some of the world’s worst urban air quality problems. Particularly in the non-monsoon period the concentrations of particulate matter regularly exceed proposed standards. The larger cities such as Dhaka and Chittagong have major traffic issues which represent a source of the air quality problems, while industrial sources such as steel mills, cement factories, and brick kilns are also considerable sources. NILU, in cooperation with the Bangladesh Department of Environment, has received NORAD funding for a three-year project to study and address these issues.
From this funding resulted the Bangladesh Air Pollution Management Project (BAPMAN), which has jump started this week with a series of ceremonies and technical meetings in Dhaka.
BAPMAN is primarily an institutional building project where NILU lends Bangladesh officials and experts the necessary knowledge, tools, and guidance for them to maintain their Air Quality program in a sustainable manner.
The partnership agreement signing occurred 2 August at the residence of Norwegian Ambassador Ingebjørg Støfring. Ambassador Støfring welcomed the Norwegian and Bangladeshi delegations with open arms and kind words.
The Ambassador believes the BAPMAN project will provide critical cross-national knowledge sharing which will strengthen relationships between the project partners, and the countries in general.
It is also important that the embassy will be involved throughout the life of the project, because while the BAPMAN project is sponsored by NORAD, it will be administered locally by the Norwegian Embassy in Dhaka.
The inauguration of the BAPMAN project occurred on 3 August at the Westin Hotel Dhaka. This event was to launch the project through ceremonial speeches by the project partners, the ambassador, and the Chief Guest – Mr. Monowar Islam (Director General for the Department of Environment). Director General Islam reminded the project partners that the urban air quality is in very poor condition in Bangladesh and that we must constantly remind ourselves of the millions of people which are exposed to these conditions every day, especially the underprivileged and the children who live on the streets and receive additional exposure.
Following the inauguration, NILU held a training seminar entitled “Air Quality Monitoring and Management” which was attended by 30 local Bangladesh air quality experts. The training was designed to be an introductory glimpse into the facets of a complete monitoring and management program for Bangladesh.
Specific topics covered included monitoring program design, emission inventories and models, quality control systems, air quality assessment and reporting, data dissemination, and management planning. The experts left the seminar with an excellent overview of many of the issues to be tackled during the BAPMAN project.
Local Dhaka coverage of the Project inauguration and seminar events:
More in depth description of BAPMAN project and tasks can be found at the project website.
Bjarne Sivertsen, Associate Research Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Randall, Research Scientist, email@example.com