The Amar Ekushey Book Fair is witnessing a growing number of visitors every day. Booklovers from around the city and even outside are thronging the fairgrounds spanned from Bangla Academy premises to nearby Suhrawardy Uddyan.
However, their visit is not a pleasant one as they have to fight stifling dust in and out of the venue.
Although the work on the much-hyped metro rail project remained halted on the Shahbagh-TSC route, there is no end to dust swirling in the entire area.
Dust is seen flying constantly in the area due to presence of excessive materials for the construction work.
Visiting the route towards the literature festival, it was found that the congestion near the entrances as well as narrow traffic space were facilitating the dust to fly around, causing serious discomfort to pedestrians.
Ehsan Uddin, a visitor from Agargaon, complained that the dusty nature of the fairgrounds is especially harmful to younglings. "The use of sand everywhere along the fairgrounds in Suhrawardy Udyan is making it more uncomfortable for us," he added.
Muntasir, another visitor who happens to be a resident student of Dhaka University, told UNB that the dry season and squeezed entrances are responsible for the worsening dust swirling.
"Although water tanks are used to keep the roads wet to prevent the dust menace, the streets and fairgrounds become dry again by afternoon and there's no visible solution to the problem," he said.
Alongside the entrances of the fair, there are multiple potholes on the sidewalks due to the construction of the metro rail and those filled with dust and other pollutants. Excessive use of sand is seen there, too.
Bangladesh's capital Dhaka ranked third among cities with the worst air quality on Wednesday morning.
It had an AQI score of 270 at 08:52 am. The air was classified as 'very unhealthy'.
When the AQI value is between 201 and 300, the entire population is more likely to be affected. In this situation, children are advised to limit outdoor activities.
Although the authorities are trying to keep things at bay, the increased number of motor vehicles, unplanned and unfinished construction works and mismanagement in handling sanitary issues are the key reasons tagged by experts for the excessive dust in the air.