$62.20m WB aid to improve air quality in Dhaka

The International Development Association, World Bank’s concessionary arm, will give Bangladesh $62.20 million in credits under an agreement signed in Dhaka Wednesday to help improve air quality and safe mobility in the Dhaka city.
   A World Bank release said the World Bank Board approved the credit on May 12.
   Greater Dhaka’s population is projected to reach 20 million by 2020 and poor air quality in urban area creates serious health hazards, adversely affects environment and quality of life.
   The donor-funded clean air and sustainable environment project is designed to reduce air pollution in the capital city by addressing two main air-polluting sectors — the brick construction and the transportation.
   ‘Air pollution is one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity in Bangladesh,’ said Xian Zhu, country director of the World Bank.
   ‘The industrial and transport sectors are likely to grow manifold in Dhaka. This, in turn, will drive the growth of air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions, unless efforts are initiated immediately to reduce these sources of air pollution,’ he said.
   Xian Zhu said: ‘We are happy to be able to respond to the government’s request to tackle Dhaka’s environmental, transport and traffic challenges.’
   The CASE project will provide technical assistance to the ministry of environment and forest to improve air-quality monitoring in Bangladesh and also introduce cleaner technologies, in the very polluting brick-manufacturing sector.
   These energy-efficient new technologies will reduce energy consumption and lower air pollution, hence improving overall environmental quality.
   In urban transport, the project will introduce low-cost measures to reduce conflict between motorised and non-motorised transport, reduce congestion and provide safer and cleaner mobility for pedestrians in pilot areas in Dhaka.
   ‘Close collaboration between Dhaka City Corporation, Dhaka Transport Coordination Board and Dhaka Metropolitan Police is essential for the success of this project,’ the multilateral funding agency said.

Source: The Daily New Age, 28 March 2009


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