Breathe Well: A Campaign for Clean Air by UN Development Programme

January 15, 2024

Seeking respite from the dusty winds - A reminder of the urgency to combat air pollution in Dhaka. #BreathWellDhaka #CleanAirDhaka

©UNDP Bangladesh

Air and oxygen: we are so complacent with the components that we can barely see them as separate entities from our existence. Hence, we do not realise how fatal this very air can be for us if it gets polluted. According to reports, air pollution is threatening millions of lives all around the world. In the year 2023, UN development programme (UNDP) addressed the issue of air pollution in the capital of Bangladesh and launched a campaign “Breathe Well Dhaka” to raise awareness for clean air.

Dhaka is a growing city, and Bangladesh is transitioning from the least developed country into a developing one. Consequently, we have many factories and construction works going on. Unattended construction sites become sources of air pollution. Sometimes, we end up contributing to air pollution through excessive usage of personal vehicles and by burning fossil fuels. 

This way air pollution has become a rising concern for Dhaka. According to reports air pollution had been an underlying cause behind the death of 20,000 people in the capital in 2019. And for the last couple of years Dhaka is being cited as one of the cities with the worst air quality worldwide. 

UNDP launched a time befitting campaign on air pollution in 2023. The initial goal of our campaign was to highlight the causes of air pollution and raise awareness against it in Dhaka. At the same time, we wanted to tell people how important it is to breathe in clean air. 

We adopted a unique style to engage people in this campaign. We threw a breathing challenge at netizens through our social media post where they could quickly check the condition of their heart. We also informed people of the Air Quality Index and where Dhaka stands on that list.

Jaya Ahsan, UNDP's Goodwill Ambassador, lending her voice to the cause of clean air and a healthier future.

Our goodwill ambassador, Jaya Ahsan, reflected on the importance of clean air and said, “Failure to act in this matter (air pollution) will put our future generation at risk.” She also encouraged people to work on their respective spaces to fight against air pollution.

In our campaign, we have highlighted how home gardening and walking short distances over using vehicles can be fruitful in reducing air pollution. And we reached around 3.9 million people through our social media channels during this campaign. 

However, considering the number of people affected by air pollution countrywide, UNDP is planning to run the second phase of the campaign that will engage people from the entire country. The idea is to involve university-going youngsters and ask for their innovative solutions to air pollution.

Stay tuned with us if you are also concerned about air pollution and have ideas to prevent it.

🌍 Join the Movement for Clean Air 🌬️ Let's make a difference together! Share your ideas and actions to combat air pollution in Dhaka and beyond. Use #BreathWellDhaka and be part of the solution.