Carlos Cazalis Photography


In 2009, Dhaka with over fourteen million people was declared the fastest growing city in the world, receiving well over 300,000 new inhabitants a year. This surge in development has demanded suitable habitat accommodations but the increase has also brought high indexes of pollution for air, water and land. Stagnant traffic jams are a primary source of CO2 while brick, sand, steel, and cement factories needed for development pollute the air under inadequate government control. Hundreds of brick factories on the edge of the city work non-stop during the six months of the dry season. As northern winds push the pollution directly into Dhaka.

The Buringanga River flanks the city on both sides and the harmful pollutants from the factories go straight into the river creating serious health hazards to the population. Record numbers of cancer, respiratory ailments and infant mortality are on the rise. Construction on the other hand is quickly diminishing public space and the number of trees in the city; destroying the natural environment. Dhaka hospitals are overrun with patients, many of them having to lie on the floor due to a lack of beds. The National Heart Foundation registers 700,000 cases of asthma attacks a year while over 15,000 people die prematurely due air pollution alone. Low birth rates and premature births are on the rise, as children are the most susceptible to chronic lung disease, asthma and bronchitis. Although Bangladesh has several environmental laws to act on pollution, the government finds itself handicapped to regulate and implement them correctly because the fines are minimal compared to a factory’s economic benefits.

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