With one motorcar for each considered one of its greater than 20 million inhabitants, Dhaka has grown into one of the polluted and congested cities on this planet.Policymakers wish to change this with a pair of proposals: Slapping a carbon tax on a number of automotive possession, and eradicating growing old buses and vans from town’s roads.However, consultants and research level out that the most important contributor to town’s dire air high quality isn’t car emissions, however the burning of straw for brick kilns.They additionally warn that abruptly slashing town’s bus fleet would severely impression residents, for whom the bus community is the primary mode of transportation.
DHAKA — Authorities in Bangladesh have rolled out two schemes to fight air air pollution within the capital Dhaka, one of many world’s quickest rising mega cities and one of the polluted.
On June 1, Finance Minister A.H.M. Mustafa Kamal proposed in his price range proposal to parliament a brand new tax on a number of automotive possession. This would function a disincentive for folks to personal multiple automotive, and thus assist cut back each the exhaust emissions and site visitors congestion which have lengthy plagued Dhaka.
Owning multiple automotive is extensively considered in Bangladesh as a matter of status and social standing. But the results of getting so many automobiles on the roads embody notoriously dangerous air air pollution and 1000’s of deaths on account of street accidents yearly.
That proposal follows on the announcement in late May by the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) that buses older than 20 years and vans older than 25 years will likely be taken off the roads to enhance air high quality. Sitangshu Shekhar Biswas, the BRTA director of engineering, instructed Mongabay this may have an effect on some 60,000 buses and vans.
The penalties of getting too many automobiles on the roads embody notoriously dangerous air air pollution and 1000’s of deaths on account of street accidents yearly. Image by Muhammad Mostafigur Rahman.
Proposed carbon tax
The finance minister’s proposal has obtained widespread assist in parliament and from environmentalists, civil society organizations and common Dhaka residents, who say they capital’s streets are clogged with an unnecessarily excessive variety of personal automobiles.
Under the proposal, people who already personal a automotive must pay a “carbon tax” for each further automotive they personal. The quantity will depend upon the extra automotive’s engine measurement:
Up to 1.5 liters → 25,000 taka ($230);
5-2 l → 50,000 taka ($460);
2-2.5 l → 75,000 taka ($690);
3-3.5 l → 200,000 taka ($1,850);
>3.5 l → 350,000 taka ($3,230).
The BRTA, which registers motor autos within the nation, says there are almost 57.5 million of them throughout Bangladesh, of which greater than 20 million are in Dhaka. That quantities to at least one motorcar for each resident of town. The BRTA doesn’t have particulars of how many individuals personal multiple automotive.
“People combat to get on board crammed buses whereas many wealthy folks use pricey chauffeur-driven automobiles with one individual or two,” Md. Mujibul Haque, a former labor minister and present member of parliament with the primary opposition celebration, instructed Mongabay. “You will get quite a lot of wealthy households retaining chauffeur-driven automobiles on standby to hold their meals to their workplaces from their homes. These further automobiles trigger site visitors jams, on one hand, and pollute the air, on the opposite.
“Also, you’re going to get many four-member households sustaining 4 automobiles: one for the husband, one for the spouse, one for the son and one for the daughter. But I believe one automotive would suffice,” he stated.
“As the most important opposition in parliament, we the Jatiya Party MPs assist the federal government’s carbon tax proposal,” Haque added.
Under the proposal, people who already personal a automotive must pay a “carbon tax” for each further automotive they personal. Image by reivax through Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).
Transport planners have for years known as on the federal government to manage the variety of personal automobiles, microbuses, jeeps, three-wheelers and different small autos that they are saying stop the utmost utilization of the restricted roads in Dhaka.
Nazrul Islam, chair of Dhaka-based assume tank Centre for Urban Studies, welcomed the federal government’s plan to tax a number of automotive possession.
“The carbon tax on a number of automobiles would give folks a way that proudly owning multiple automotive shouldn’t be a great observe; such a measure would discourage some folks from shopping for multiple automotive,” he instructed Mongabay.
However, he stated the proposal was additionally “contradictory, as a result of the federal government has been constructing bus speedy transit, overpasses and new roads for buses and personal automobiles and now proposes discouraging [them with a ] carbon tax.”
“The street house occupied by two personal automobiles with a most of 10 folks on board can accommodate a giant, single-engine, double-decker bus that may carry as much as 100 passengers,” Islam added.
He additionally welcomed the plan to drag previous buses and vans off the roads, calling them extra polluting than the brand new ones.
Buses are the lifeblood of Dhaka’s public transport system: almost 51,000 buses are registered within the metropolis, the place the dire site visitors means they crawl alongside at a mean velocity of lower than 5 kilometers per hour (3 miles per hour).
When caught in site visitors, which is more often than not, the idling older buses spew out thick clouds of black smoke. This types a significant a part of the vehicular emissions that contribute to Dhaka’s poor air high quality, in accordance with Ziaul Haque, director for air on the Department Of Environment.
“We have been asking the BRTA for almost 20 years to ban the previous buses and vans that pollute air. We are pleased that lastly the authority has heeded our recommendation,” he instructed Mongabay. “We hope that the air high quality in Dhaka will enhance if the previous buses and vans are phased out.”
When caught in site visitors, the idling older buses spew out thick clouds of black smoke. Experts have welcomed the plan to drag previous buses and vans off the roads, calling them extra polluting than the brand new ones. Image by Muhammad Mostafigur Rahman.
Not the most important polluters
A joint research by the Department of Environment and the World Bank in 2019 recognized the lots of of brick kilns working all through the suburbs as the one greatest contributor to the hazardous tremendous particulate matter circulating in Dhaka’s air. While they account for 58% of those pollution, autos contribute 10%, in accordance with the research.
Air air pollution induced some 80,000 untimely deaths in Bangladesh.
The Department of Environment has already begun actions in opposition to unregistered brick kilns, however lots of proceed to function with out approval.
Provat Saha, a lecturer on the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology and member of the World Bank staff that carried out the research, stated the key reason for air air pollution in Dhaka is burning of biomass in and across the metropolis. He added that 30% of Dhaka’s air air pollution wafts in from the Indian state of West Bengal, carried there by the winds.
Vehicle emissions, Saha stated, are chargeable for at most 7% of air air pollution in Dhaka.
“So phasing out previous autos would contribute least,” he stated.
A brick kiln exterior Dhaka. Brick-burning kilns are one of many key contributors to air air pollution in Bangladesh. Image by Scott Wallace / World Bank through Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).
Old autos not the issue?
Other stakeholders within the transport sector have expressed doubt that the withdrawal of previous autos will cut back air air pollution in Dhaka.
Masud Rana, a industrial bus driver, instructed Mongabay he drives about 100 km (60 mi) every day, going by means of 37 l (10 gallons) of diesel.
“The bus I drive has a mileage of almost 3 kilometers per liter” — about 7 miles per gallon —, “although this bus is just 5 years previous. An previous bus consumes an nearly related quantity of diesel,” Rana stated. “New engines devour much less diesel in a super scenario. But for Dhaka, there isn’t any vital distinction between an previous car and a brand new car.”
He outlined the “very best scenario” as one by which the bus could be routinely maintained, together with oil modifications and filter replacements. But that’s hardly ever the case in Dhaka, he stated, the place bus house owners attempt to hold prices down.
“Buses produce black smoke after we can’t drain out lubricating oil and clear the air filters recurrently,” Rana stated. “We can’t go for normal upkeep of the buses as this entails additional prices. The house owners can’t afford it. They would attempt to gather a raised fare from the passengers in the event that they needed to put money into common upkeep. But neither the federal government nor the passengers would pay the extra fare for upkeep.”
He added that, on the identical time, transport employees stay so overworked that they’re usually sleep-deprived. In the little free time they’ve, they like to relaxation or chat or brown their cell phones as a substitute of sustaining the buses. “They will solely take the buses to the workshop when it’s not working,” Rana stated.
Another essential situation is the site visitors, Rana stated; if this doesn’t enhance, then neither will gasoline consumption, and therefore air high quality, he stated.
“Phasing out previous autos wouldn’t resolve vehicular air pollution in Bangladesh except the opposite points reminiscent of site visitors jam are resolved,” he stated.
Saha stated one other issue is the persistent use of extremely polluting diesel, calling it “the urgent downside” relating to car emissions.
“Diesel with larger sulfur and lead concentrations causes extra air pollution,” he instructed Mongabay. “We should assume critically about it to enhance Dhaka’s air high quality.”
Islam, the city planner, stated withdrawing so many buses, minibuses and vans would trigger a transport vacuum in Dhaka.
“The authorities ought to work out an in depth plan to exchange previous autos with new autos with particular timelines; in any other case, the previous autos can’t be faraway from the streets,” he stated. “In that case, a vested group of businessmen will capitalize on the scenario at the price of the folks’s sufferings and the setting.”
Banner picture: A site visitors jam in Dhaka. Image by Muhammad Mostafigur Rahman.
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Air Pollution, Carbon Tax, Cities, Environment, Environmental Law, Governance, Health, Industry, Law, Pollution, Public Health