With an air quality index (AQI) score of 137 at 8:56 am, Dhaka ranked eighth in the list of cities worldwide with the worst air quality, reports news agency UNB.

An AQI between 101 and 200 is considered ‘unhealthy’, particularly for sensitive groups.

Pakistan’s Lahore, India’s Delhi and Thailand’s Chiang Mai occupied the first three spots in the list, with AQI scores of 186, 180 and 164, respectively.

An AQI between 201 and 300 is said to be ‘poor’, while a reading of 301 to 400 is considered ‘hazardous’, posing serious health risks to residents.

In Bangladesh, the AQI is based on five criteria pollutants -- Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5), NO2, CO, SO2 and Ozone.

Dhaka has long been grappling with air pollution issues. Its air quality usually turns unhealthy in winter and improves during the monsoon.

Air pollution consistently ranks among the top risk factors for death and disability worldwide.

Breathing polluted air has long been recognised as increasing a person’s chances of developing a heart disease, chronic respiratory diseases, lung infections and cancer, according to several studies.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution kills an estimated seven million people worldwide every year, largely as a result of increased mortality from stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and acute respiratory infections.