Air pollution causes around 3,580 premature deaths in Bangladesh every year and exposes nearly 87 million to respiratory complications.
An estimated economic loss of $60-270 million is linked to air pollution.
Speakers said this on Monday at the webinar "Bangladesh Clean Air Act." Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) and Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network (CLEAN) organised the programme.
"Pure air is critical for a healthy life as an adult inhales around 15 kg air while taking 1.5 kg food and 2.5 litre water," said Dr Kazi Saifuddin Bennoor, assistant professor of the National Institute of Diseases of the Chest and Hospital.
Outdoor air pollution is a major cause of death and disease globally. The health effects range from increased hospital admissions and emergency room visits to increased risk of premature death, according to the World Health Organization.
Air pollution mainly affects the respiratory tract and also the brain, nervous system, kidney and heart. And because of this, a person could have a cough, chest pain, oxygen deficiency, increased infections, cyanosis fatigue and any of these conditions may lead to death, Saifuddin warned.
Vehicles, industries, brickfields, construction works; open burning, drainage and waste disposal and cigarette smoking are the main drivers of air pollution, he said.
Environmental issues have become pressing and concerning, Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Saber Hossain Chowdhury said at the programme.
And to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), environmental issues have to be addressed, Saber added.
"We already have a draft law – Bangladesh Clean Air Act – to control air pollution. The law might be passed in the parliament soon. Before that, the government may put it online so that people can give their opinion."
Although it will be challenging to implement the law, Bangladesh will set a good example in the subcontinent in creating an environmental law when it is passed, Saber said.
"Also, we need a comprehensive research on construction work, power plants and brickfields and have to look into indoor pollution."
Bela Chief Executive Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Lawyer of National Green Tribunal in India Ritwik Dutta, and CLEAN Chief Executive Hasan Mehedi also spoke at the programme.