In Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, and New Delhi, the capital of India, a concerning issue has emerged as thick smog envelops the cities. The air quality in Dhaka, a highly populated city with more than 20 million residents, has reached hazardous levels due to intensified construction activities and excessive use of fossil fuels. This has resulted in health problems, including asthma, fever, and allergies, affecting individuals like Rafiq Mondal, a traditional two-wheeled rickshaw operator. Drones equipped with cameras have captured the severity of the smog, ranking Dhaka as the most polluted city globally at one point, with an air quality index reaching a hazardous level of 325. While city authorities are spraying water to settle the dust, residents are advocating for more substantial measures to combat the pollution. The World Bank has urged Bangladesh to collaborate with its South Asian neighbors to address air pollution, which contributes to approximately a fifth of the country’s premature deaths annually.

Similarly, in New Delhi, the capital of India, pollution levels are alarmingly high, registering an air quality index reading of 378, classified as “very poor.” The smog has disrupted transportation, causing delays in over 100 flights and affecting rail services. Both cities grapple with a severe air pollution problem, emphasizing the necessity for coordinated efforts to enhance air quality and mitigate the adverse impact on public health.