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20 June, 2019 12:15:32 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 20 June, 2019 12:48:51 PM

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Environmental cost of rapid development worries greens

Anisur Rahman Khan, Dhaka
Environmental cost of rapid development worries greens

Bangladesh is making rapid economic progress without taking into account the importance of its environmental impact, warn green activists. As a result, most of the country's waterbodies, including rivers, canals and ponds, and the air have come under a dire threat due to pollution across the country.

Even the country’s overall ecology and public health face a grave danger, as toxic materials enter the human body through the food chain due to extreme environmental pollution.

Against this backdrop, Bangladesh will observe ‘World Environment Day’ today (Thursday) with the slogan ‘Beat Air Pollution’. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is likely to inaugurate a seven-day national tree planting week at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre today to mark the day.

According to a World Bank study, 7,000 tonnes of wastes are produced in the two Dhaka city corporation areas alone. Green activists allege that several hundred tonnes of industrial and household solid waste and untreated effluent are being dumped into waterbodies across the country. They further claim that such illegal acts are being committed in broad day light under the gaze of the departments concerned.

“Economically, Bangladesh is developing rapidly, but without taking into consideration the environmental impact of such development. The country’s ecology and public health are at risk due to heavy air and environmental pollution,” Abu Naser Khan, chairman of the Poribesh Bachao Andolan (POBA), told this correspondent.

Water and air pollution levels are increasing day by day across the country, he said. “We are taking toxic matters through the food chain. Most of the people, including children and women, are continuously suffering from various diseases because of the rising degree of environmental pollution,” he added.

Khan said no development can be sustainable by ignoring the environment. “So, it is important to consider the environmental impacts of development projects before they are taken up,” he added.

The green activist observed that if the department concerned fails to stop pollution, it would not be possible to export agricultural products abroad. The relevant authorities, including the Department of Environment (DoE), should take strong steps to stop environmental pollution, he said.

Former DoE additional director Abdus Sobhan said the air pollution level in Dhaka and its surrounding areas, including Narayanganj, Gazipur, Chittagong and Rajshahi, has reached an alarming level. Unplanned digging of roads, construction of buildings and illegal conventional brick kilns are responsible for the pollution, he added.

“As per the law, no one can use any product that pollutes the environment and affect public health. The DoE is responsible for controlling their use by applying the law,” he said.

The government has failed to protect the country’s rivers, including the four city rivers—Buriganga, Turag, Balu and Shitalakkhya—from pollution, he added.

An official of the DoE told this correspondent that it is working with several organisations, including the roads and highways department, RAJUK, city corporations, Power Development Board, brick kiln owners, WASA, BRTA, among others, to control pollution through coordinated efforts.

The minister for environment, forest and climate change, Shahab Uddin, has sought the cooperation of the media to create awareness against environmental pollution. “We will graduate into a prosperous and developed country by 2041 through sustainable development and by protecting the environment,” he said in reply to a query.

He also said the government is determined to protect the environment and ecology from pollution. “The government has taken up various mega development projects after thoroughly assessing all environmental issues. So, this environment-friendly government is determined to uphold the importance of environmental issues before taking up any development programmes,” he added.

SR

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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