Dhaka City 3.4˚ warmer than rural areas, says Study

Dhaka, Jan 20 – The surface urban heat island (SUHI) in the urban core of Dhaka is 3.4 degrees Celsius higher than rural locations, posing various threats to the city dwellers, according to a study.The increase in the daytime temperature has been more rapid over the year than the nighttime temperature, it says.
The threats that the citizens of the capital are facing due to the increase in temperature include a rise in the rate of germ and bacteria survival, adverse effect on human body and psychology and decline in individual working capacity.
Dr Ashraf Dewan, a faculty of Curtin University, Australia, presented the findings of the study titled ‘Mitigation strategies for the urban micro climate of Dhaka megacity to reduce adverse climate change impact’.
Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), Curtin University, Australia and Department of Meteorology of Dhaka University jointly organised the programme titled ‘Mitigation Strategies for Warming Dhaka Megacity: Implication for Sustainable Development’ at the BIISS Auditorium.
Dr Ashraf said the air pollution combined with loss of vegetation and population density is affecting the rise of thermal temperature in Dhaka.
Speakers noted that the temperature of the capital is comparatively higher than other parts of the country which is affecting the city life and natural ecosystem.
Speaking as a special guest at the seminar, Dr Shamsul Alam, Member (Senior Secretary) of the General Economic Division (GED) of Planning Commission, said groundwater mapping is a necessity to get a complete picture of the country’s water demand. “We need to have clear groundwater mapping of the whole country. We have recharging groundwater in some areas but in other areas, groundwater level is drawing down and never recharging,” he said.
He highlighted the necessity of careful planning to deliver urban facilities to rural areas.
“We need urbanisation but it shouldn’t be centred within limited places. All rural areas should have urban facilities…we should think of keeping rural scenario as they are,” the GED member said.
He noted that harvesting rainwater can be a solution to meet the future demand of the country.
Dr Shamsul Alam also emphasised on proper implementation of the Delta Plan 2100. “If the plan can be implemented correctly, we’ll be able to export fresh water by the end of the century,” he said.
He was also skeptical about the necessity of rooftop farming using groundwater. “We need to reduce the use of groundwater. We’re talking about roof-farming. There’s a need for good research on this. Because groundwater is being used in rooftop-farming and gardening,” he said.
The measures as suggested by experts to repel this heat increase are cutting down carbon emission rate, maintaining proper building code and increasing the amount of water body in the densely populated areas.
Bangladesh Ambassador to China M Fazlul Karim, Centre for Urban Studies (CUS) Chairman Prof Dr Nazrul Islam and BIISS Research Director Dr Mahfuz Kabir also spoke at the programme. – UNB