Dhaka, a city of 11 million, was choking on the fumes of 2 cycle gas engines used to propel it’s rickshaws. With a lot of foreign aid it started the switch to natural gas and saw the particulate pollution reduced by 30-40 percent.
Muhammad Mokles plies the busy Dhaka streets in his green-painted auto-rickshaw. But when it’s time to refuel, he skips the traditional gas pump and goes straight to a compressed natural gas (CNG) station. It’s not only much cheaper than gasoline but it’s also much better for the environment.
Here in Bangladesh’s capital, the streets overflow with thousands of noisy honking vehicles, pedestrians, beggar children, food vendors, and stray animals. Millions of people need to move around this crowded and sprawling metropolis of 11 million each day, and many do so in an auto-rickshaw that can dart around larger or slower forms of transport….
Two-stroke engines were banned completely in 2003; all must be cleaner-burning four-stroke or CNG-fueled engines now.
When this happened, “there was a 30 to 40 percent drop in particulate pollution in Dhaka,” says the World Bank’s Mr. Akbar. In addition, an estimated $25 million in health costs are avoided each year by the cleaner environment, says Quamrul Islam Chowdhury, chairman of Forum of Environmental Journalists of Bangladesh.
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