Indoor Air Pollution Kills 46,000 People in Bangladesh Every Year
    2009-06-15 23:33:41     Xinhua      Web Editor: Zhang Xu
 

Around 32,000 children below five years and 14,000 adults die of acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI) caused by indoor air pollution every year in Bangladesh, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Andrew Trevett, an environmental health advisor of the WHO, disclosed this while speaking at a workshop on indoor air pollution held here on Monday, national news agency BSS reported.

Trevett said there is a double risk of pneumonia among kids besides tuberculosis, asthma, cardiovascular diseases, low birth weight and prenatal health outcomes due to the indoor air pollution.

Trevett, acting country representative of the WHO in Bangladesh, attributed the risk due to lack of using well-designed stoves for cooking meals across the country, the BSS said.

Bangladesh's Health and Family Welfare Minister AFM Rahul Huque at the workshop said conventional way is being followed by the villagers to cook food. They use woods, agriculture residues and cow-dung for cooking purpose, he said.

"Bringing about a change in traditional cooking system would not be possible overnight," the health minister was quoted as saying. He underscored the need for developing low-cost cooking method to benefit the community people at rural areas.

Joseph H Graziano, Chairman of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences of the Columbia University, USA, said nearly 3 billion people worldwide use bio-mass made of charcoal, wood, agriculture residues, dung and coal to cook food.

Incomplete combustion of bio-mass emits powerful greenhouse gas pollutants including methane and black carbon dioxide contributing to the perilous impact of climate change, said Joseph.

He said non-ventilation is responsible for the risk of indoor air pollution and added ventilation could be one of the most important interventions to reduce the risk of air pollution.

Joseph at the workshop said the indoor air pollution has become a leading threat to public health followed by underweight of newborn babies and unsafe drinking water in the South Asian region, according to the BSS.

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