Zannatul Mouwa Naz
The existence of a beautiful world cannot be imagined without considering the environment. The relationship between environment and development is not contradictory. The environment has a close relationship with development. If the country is not developed by protecting the environment, it will not be sustainable. For this, not only the government or development agencies should work, but every person in the society should work from their own position.
Moreover, Economic development is possible only by saving the environment.
Sustainable development is the development process that can be accelerated by preserving it safe for future generations. The government has taken special steps for this and said, “Bangladesh has implemented the MDGs with great success. With this in mind, the United Nations has formulated the Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030). Besides, the government of Bangladesh has formulated the National Sustainable Development Strategy Paper (2010-2021) in 2013 and the present government is committed to implementing Vision 2041”.
Sustainable development requires maintaining social and environmental balance with economic development. According to the study, 6 billion tons of natural resources were used in 2009. By 2050, 140 billion tons will be used, which will upset the balance of the world. Humans have lost 20 percent of arable land, 30 percent of forest land, and 10 percent of grazing land.
Due to housing and industrialization in Bangladesh, agricultural land is declining by 1 percent every year. Biodiversity is becoming extinct. More than half of the rivers are extinct. The rest is ruined by occupation. The desertification process has started in the north-western part of the country.
According to a World Bank report, Bangladesh is one of the countries most affected by pollution and environmental risks. Of the total number of deaths in Bangladesh every year, 28% are due to various diseases caused by environmental pollution. But the world average of such deaths is only 16 percent.
The level of pollution in urban areas of Bangladesh has reached alarming levels. In 2015, 70,000 people died in different cities in the country due to environmental pollution. According to a report released by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPI) last year on the role of governments in protecting the environment in 180 countries around the world, Bangladesh’s position has slipped 40 places to 189th position between 2010 and 2016. Burundi, a war-torn country in Africa, ranks 180th in the index. Bangladesh is one of the top 10 countries in terms of deforestation, air, water, and plastic-polythene pollution. The continuous deterioration of Bangladesh’s position in the world in terms of environmental protection is a matter of great concern and panic for the common man. This is because women, children, and low-income marginalized people suffer the most from environmental pollution.
Polythene is an important issue in the environmental pollution in Bangladesh. The production and use of polythene bags were banned in 2002 to control soil and water pollution in the country. Bangladesh ranks tenth in the list of polythene pollution in the world. At the top of the list are China, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
According to a survey conducted in 2016, 65 lakh tons of plastic waste is deposited in the soil and water of Bangladesh. One of the reasons for waterlogging and soil pollution in different cities and villages of the country including the capital Dhaka is the illegal use of these polythene bags.
In a small and densely populated country like Bangladesh, it is very difficult to meet all the conditions of development and environment together. Mill waste is responsible for river pollution around Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. Air is being polluted due to brick kilns and black smoke from cars. Buriganga and Turag are being polluted due to tannery waste and polythene. Water is being polluted by killing the rivers around Dhaka.
We want fresh air for a habitable earth. So, we all have to work together.
There are six challenges to sustainable development. These are to create public participation and empowerment at all levels of development. To ensure the protection of economic, social, and environmental interests in the formulation and implementation of development policies. Creating skilled and creative manpower. Integrate wildlife conservation and land management outside protected areas. Creating a framework for policymakers. Creating a science-based database.
Sustainable use of energy is one of the conditions for sustainable development of the environment. It is not possible to move forward with development work without sustainable use of energy. The economy of the country will be protected as well as the individual will benefit if the use of energy is economical. It will also play a role in preventing global pollution. We need to increase the efficiency of our industries in the use of energy. Fuel-saving equipment needs to be increased. In doing so, it is important to ensure that the cost to entrepreneurs does not increase.
It is possible to address environmental risks due to climate change. The Climate Trust has been formed under the direction of the Prime Minister. 424 projects have been taken in this regard. Most of the projects are related to infrastructure. The world has come forward to address climate risks. As a result, it will be possible to do more to protect the environment.
Green nature needs to be created through extensive tree planting to improve the environment due to the changing climate. Only by creating eco-friendly green nature is it possible to maintain the balance of the environment. To maintain the ecological balance of a country, at least 25% of the total land area should be forested. According to the Forest Department, 18 percent of the country’s total land is forest land. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the forest cover in Bangladesh is 13 percent. According to a recent report by Global Forest Watch and the World Resource Institute, 332,000 acres of forest have been cleared in Bangladesh in the last six years.
The biggest obstacle to protect the country’s forests is environmental pollution. According to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, 1 lakh 8 thousand acres of forest land has been allotted in the name of the government and non-government organizations since independence. But sustainable development of the environment is possible by planting trees. So along with industrial development, new forests have to be created. We have to raise public awareness in this regard.
The three components of sustainable development are environmental development, social development, and economic development. These three must be taken forward together. Excluding the environment, only economic development will hinder social development. Integrated planning is not taken. The plan that is taken is not adequately funded in implementation. The result is not sustainable development. It is not possible to carry out environmental protection activities properly with a small number of people in the Department of Environment. For this, individual owners as well as industry owners need to be aware.
If the environment survives, the country will survive, we will survive. The environment is being polluted due to our unconsciousness. The living space is shrinking. So, each of us must strive to fulfill our responsibilities. Everyone must come forward from their respective positions to protect the environment.
If everyone is not aware, there will not be much success in law enforcement alone. Law enforcement will be reduced if aware. If we work with positive feelings about the environment, the problems of the environment will be solved to a great extent. The media can play a special role in raising public awareness about the environment. We will be healthy if the environment is clean. So sustainable development is needed to protect the environment.
Author is an Associate Editor of The Environment Review