Environmental Degradation is an Obstacle for Sustainable Development

Nazmunnaher Nipa

World is gradually moving towards development. It can be said that the global natural environment is largely on the brink of destruction. It can collapse at any time, the consequences of which will be very terrible. The use of natural resources in the world has been increasing over time. According to the United Nations Environment Program’s Global Resources Outlook, if no action is taken, this figure could rise to around 190 billion tons by 2060.  Another name of the continuous development efforts to human beings is the various uses of nature and environment. We know that nature and environment survive in natural order. When human development efforts obstruct the rules, the balance of the environment is disturbed and various pollutants occur. In Bangladesh, among various factors, few creates serious headache for us. Because, according to a World Bank report published in September 2016, 26% of the deaths in Bangladesh in 2015

were due to environmental pollution related diseases, the highest in the world. Constantly forests are being destroyed, new factories are being built. Different species are becoming extinct, nature is losing its own way of life which is having a far-reaching effect on people all over the world. One third of the world’s people do not have access to safe water and are deprived of clean air. Yet it is, as if people are cranky in protecting the natural environment with the touch of development. 

Plastic is another serious problem for sustainable development. Now-a-days, one of the most widely used items is plastic. After the use of various plastic materials, especially polythene bags, plastic bottles are being disposed of in the natural environment without recycling, which poses a serious threat to the environment. In their 2018 report, the World Economic Forum noted

that Bangladesh ranks 10th in the world in terms of plastic pollution. Especially Highway Road Construction, mass infrastructure, establishment of power plant and unplanned industries has a huge impact on environment. According to a survey (2017) by the Environment and Social Development Organization, 6.5 million tons of plastic waste has been accumulated in the soil and water of Bangladesh. As a result, soil and water are becoming increasingly polluted, which poses a serious threat to biodiversity.

The British Columbia Health Effects Institute and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation report (2019) states that Bangladesh ranks fifth in the world in terms of deaths due to air pollution. The two major components of air pollution are industrial waste and vehicle fumes. At present, the use of coal in brick burning is increasing at a rapid rate emitting toxic sulfur. Mixing in the atmosphere is creating a harmful layer of gas which acts as one of the elements in the case of acid rain. According to a report (2000) by the United Nations Environment Program, the amount of carbon dioxide in the air by 2010 is 30 percent higher than the pre-industrial times, and if current methods and rates continue to be used, carbon dioxide levels will increase by 40 percent in 2015. As the level of carbon dioxide in the air increases, the average temperature of the earth will increase, desertification will continue to increase at a rapid rate, sea level will rise – which will further increase the natural imbalance. At the same time human health risks will increase to alarming bones and its effects have already begun to fall on nature.

It is seen that with the increase in development and production, the rate of water pollution is gradually increasing. In particular, the toxic effluent discharged into the river is constantly polluting the water – which is having an adverse effect on the aquatic ecosystem. Many rivers are gradually becoming extinct. Rivers are filling up due to rising pollution levels. The river is no longer as deep as before, the rivers are losing their

navigability. If the river survives, the country will survive. The biodiversity and nature of the country will survive. We must work to ensure the protection of economic, social and environmental interests. Coastal areas are facing acute shortages of potable water due to increasing salinity. Moreover, St. Martin, the only coral island in the country, is now under threat. The number of new buildings is increasing day by day. Human habitation and waste are rising. Also, the number of engine driven boats is increasing. The oil emitted from these boats is coating the coral. As a result, coral growth is being hampered.

The development of a country requires industrialization and urbanization. Whose adverse effects naturally fall on the environment. We have to work with the environment in mind. More and more social forestry, eco-friendly brickfields, vehicles and factories needs to be created. Use of harmful chemicals should be reduced. In each country, more than one law has been enacted to protect the environment. But even after that, nature is losing its identity only as a result of human ignorance, unconsciousness, many of the elements of which are present in the daily use of human beings.

Establishment of refinery or effluent treatment plant (ETP) should be made with every industry. The use of biotechnology should be increased by reducing the use of excessive pesticides on agricultural land. There are many fallow lands in Dhaka city where trees can be planted. In particular, the use of plastic should be reduced by using recycle, reuse and recover option. Plastic waste should be disposed in a specific place. Nature must be saved; the overall element of the environment must be protected. We have to follow the Government building Code and Environmental Protection Rules.  We should remember that the environment is at the root of all development. Therewith we have to work keeping in mind the principles of sustainable development. Sustainable development is never possible by destroying the environment.

Author; Associate Editor at The Environment Review; E-mail: nipasheikh13@gmail.com

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