An environment is a complex of external factors that acts on a system and determines its course and form of existence. An environment may be thought of as a superset, of which the given system is a subset. An environment may have one or more parameters, physical or otherwise. The environment of a given system must necessarily interact with that system.
Generally, the environment or milieu of some object or action consists of the substances, circumstances, objects, or conditions by which it is surrounded or in which it occurs. (Although the two terms are usually synonyms, some sciences prefer the less common milieu to avoid confusion with the more well-known meanings of environment in ecology, politics, and sociology.)
Definition of environment:
- Circumstances, influences, stresses, and competitive, cultural, demographic, economic, natural, political, regulatory, and technological factors (called environmental factors) that effect the survival, operations, and growth of an organization.
- Sum total of all surroundings of a living organism, including natural forces and other living things, which provide conditions for development and growth as well as of danger and damage.
- The circumstances or conditions that surround one; surroundings.
- The totality of circumstances surrounding an organism or group of organisms, especially.
- The combination of external physical conditions that affect and influence the growth, development, and survival of organisms: “We shall never understand the natural environment until we see it as a living organism” (Paul Brooks).
- The complex of social and cultural conditions affecting the nature of an individual or community.
- The complex of physical, chemical, and biotic factors (as climate, soil, and living things) that act upon an organism or an ecological community and ultimately determine its form and survival.
- The aggregate of social and cultural conditions that influence the life of an individual or community.
Definition of environmental policy:
Environmental issues generally addressed by environmental policy include (but are not limited to) air and water pollution, waste management, ecosystem management, biodiversity protection, and the protection of natural resources, wildlife and endangered species. Relatively recently, environmental policy has also attended to the communication of environmental issues.
Definitions of Environmental policy on the Web:
- Environmental policy is any [course of] action deliberately taken [or not taken] to manage human activities with a view to prevent, reduce, or mitigate harmful effects on nature and natural resources, and ensuring that man-made changes to the environment do not have harmful effects on humans.
- The official rules or regulations concerning the environment adopted, implemented, and enforced by some governmental agency. Statement by the organization of its intentions and principles in relation to its overall environmental performance which provides a framework for action and for the setting of its environmental objectives and targets.
Environmental policy instruments:
Environmental policy instruments are tools used by governments to implement their environmental policies. Governments may use a number of different types of instruments. For example, economic incentives and market-based instruments such as taxes and tax exemptions, tradable permits, and fees can be very effective to encourage compliance with environmental policy.
Voluntary measures, such as bilateral agreements negotiated between the government and private firms and commitments made by firms’ independent of government pressure, are other instruments used in environmental policy. Another instrument is the implementation of greener public purchasing programs.
Often, several instruments are combined in an instrument mix formulated to address a certain environmental problem. Since environmental issues often have many different aspects, several policy instruments may be needed to adequately address each one. Furthermore, instrument mixes may allow firms greater flexibility in finding ways to comply with government policy while reducing the uncertainty in the cost of doing so. However, instrument mixes must be carefully formulated so that the individual measures within them do not undermine each other or create a rigid and cost-ineffective compliance framework. Also, overlapping instruments lead to unnecessary administrative costs, making implementation of environmental policies more costly than necessary In order to help governments realize their environmental policy goals, the OECD Environment Directorate studies and collects data on the efficiency of the environmental instruments governments use to achieve their goals as well as their consequences for other policies.. The site www.economicinstruments.com serves as a complementary database detailing countries' experience with the application of instruments for environmental policy.
Facts about the Environment of Bangladesh:
United States Agency for International Development (Bangladesh) indicates some important factors about the Environment of Bangladesh. That are-
- Aquatic and floodplain ecosystems continue to be severely degraded. The wetland ecosystems have lost connections with larger water bodies (rivers and canals) due to salinity and land filling or draining for agriculture and homestead use.
- More than 50% of seasonal and perennial wetlands have been affected by growing unplanned urban and agricultural land use.
- Upstream water use in Nepal, India, Bhutan, and Tibet greatly reduces dry season water flows into Bangladesh.
- True forest habitat is less than 6% of total land area and is declining rapidly.
- Massive deforestation has resulted in loss of biodiversity and productivity of tropical forest resources.
Bangladesh is situated at the unique coincidence of the composite, sprawling, interlinked Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GMB) river systems, the second largest river system in the world, which drains an area of 1,086,000 square kilometers from China, Nepal, India and Bangladesh. Because of this unique geophysical location, the country has been endowed with rich biological diversity, hosting a rich variety of species superbly evolved to populate the ecosystems of the country. However, due to the various pressures of a growing population (with an already existing base of 16.5 corer people), development interventions, gaps in policy and legislation, and conflicting institutional mandates, 95% of Bangladesh’s natural forests and 50% of its freshwater wetlands are lost or degraded. Bangladesh now has among the smallest areas of protected and intact forest in the world, consisting of 1.4% of its landmass. Many terrestrial wildlife species have been lost during the last 100 years. In addition, the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in 2000 classified 40% of Bangladesh’s freshwater fish species as threatened with national extinction. Bangladesh's southwestern mangrove forests, called Sundarbans and which also stretch across the border with India, are currently home to just 350 tigers and its southeastern Chittagong Hill Tracts have 277 elephants. Many animals are killed in conflicts with humans, who are increasingly encroaching on their habitat, forest officials said. At least 80 people, and some 15 tigers, have been killed in last five years across Bangladesh-controlled areas of the Sundarbans, which are dotted with hundreds of small islands and cress-crossed by rivers.
Bangladesh – the Most Vulnerable Country to Global Climate Change:
Bangladesh is the most vulnerable country to climate change impact. Being the largest delta in the world located at the downstream of the second largest river system, the country is subject to a series of climatic events. The probable impacts of global climate change (GCC), particularly sea-level rise and the associated impact on ecosystems and economic loss, adds to the already daunting array of environmental issues. Climate change will change the physiographic and demography of Bangladesh. By 2050, 70 million people could be affected annually by floods; 8 million by drought; up to 8% of the low-lying lands may become permanently inundated. In addition to direct inundation of a large population, the sea level rise will certainly result in increased frequency and severity of flooding along the major estuarine rivers. Saltwater intrusion problems will also be exacerbated in coastal aquifers. Some impacts manifesting in erratic weather patterns and unexpected extreme climatic events have already been evident. The most recent cyclone, Cyclone Sidr, hit Bangladesh on November 15, 2007 with an enormous intensity. Winds of 220-240 km/hr and the cyclone’s width of 600 kilometers caused over 3,000 deaths and projected costs of $2.3 billion dollars due to widespread devastation to houses, infrastructure, and livelihoods. Climate change will change the physiography and demography of Bangladesh. By 2050, 70 million people could be affected annually by floods; 8 million by drought; up to 8% of the low-lying lands may become permanently inundated. Climate Change is no longer only an environmental issue; it is a development issue. Bangladesh has prepared through a participatory process the “Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan” (BCCSAP). About US$500 million will be needed immediately, and about $5 billion will be needed within the next 5-10 years. The government has earmarked US$ 45 million. The donors are in the process of setting up a US$ 150 million Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF).
Picture: Air pollution
- At least 37.5 percent of the country's industrial units do not have waste management system and 62.1 percent lack waste recycling facilities resulting in immense environmental pollution, the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) says in a survey report.
- The BBS for the first time carried out such a survey, assisted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
- The survey focused on environment protection system in industrial units and their expenditure for this. The BBS initially selected 900 industrial units and establishments across the country for the survey but 605 of them finally took part in it, most of them in Dhaka and Chittagong.
- The industries and establishments covered by the survey included agricultural, manufacturing, electricity, gas, transport, and hotel and health service units.
- The survey report said 55.4 percent of the industrial units and establishments have waste management system while 62.1 percent of them don't have waste recycling system. Condition of the units in health, manufacturing and construction sectors is most acute with 67.5, 64.8 and 60 percent of them having no such facilities.
- As regards environmental regulations, 48.6 percent industrial units and establishments comply with them and 40.2 percent do not. In agriculture sector, 84.8 percent units do not comply with the regulations while 60 percent of them in construction sector and 58.1 percent of hotels and restaurants do not follow the regulations.
- The report also pointed out that only 10 percent industrial units and establishments have ISO certificates while 75 percent of them do not have. Besides, 78 percent manufacturing units lacks ISO certificates.
- On environmental damage different sectors are causing, the report said crop sub-sector is almost pollution free and in the non-crop sector, particularly in fisheries and poultry establishments, pollution occurs in a small way.
Picture: Garments wastes
- Readymade garment factories are major violators of environmental regulations. While some of them have dust control device, their washing plants are polluting nearby water bodies. Besides, extras and cuttings of cloth that are sold out by the garment factories often create water pollution and stagnation particularly when dumped in nearby water bodies.
- Tannery industries also cause great environmental damage. The toxic chemicals used in tannery factories pollute nearby water bodies. Re-rolling mills also use toxic chemicals which, when channeled to adjacent water bodies. Pollute water. The mills also cause sound pollution.
- Pharmaceuticals and rubber industries, especially smaller ones, pollute air through offensive smell. Chemicals used in paper and pulp industries as well as in match factories greatly pollute water bodies.
- Motor vehicles are another major polluter with their hydraulic horns and emission of gases causing sound and air pollution.
- Hospitals and clinics dump large volumes of wastes including solid and hazardous medical wastes that cause serious air and water pollution. A small number of them however have pollution control system, the report mentioned.
- "These organizations dispose of medical waste on roads, dustbins, drains and any open space available in the absence of laws or policies governing such actions", said Tarit Kanti Biswas, project co-coordinator, Hospital Waste Management Project, of Prism Bangladesh, a component of sustainable environment management programme (SEMP) of Ministry of Environment and Forest and UNDP.
- The official said that 70 percent of medical waste dumped in the local dustbins is infectious. "Waste like used syringes, gloves and others are picked by scavengers. These are later sold to unknowing patients or their family members at a price lower than the price of an average syringe or pair of gloves," said Biswas.
Picture: Pollution of Dhanmondi Lake
- Dhanmondi Lake, one of the popular leisure spots in the city, is being polluted by the business firms operating in the area, locals and environmentalists alleged.
- "The organizations which run their business around the lake are responsible for the pollution of the water body," said Sultana Alam, convener, Dhanmondi Paribesh Unnayan Jote, an organization of environmentalists.
- Though the DCC is supposed to remove the day's lot of garbage from a certain collection point for final dumping, it is not done so in this case, as only a truckload of garbage is taken away while the rest piles up.
- The openly piled garbage is a public nuisance, posing health hazards to the residents and emanates a strong stench forcing them to cover their noses with cloth-masks in and out of home.
- Although the arrival of the CNG-operated three wheelers improved the situation to some extent, the continued presence of the decades-old, diesel-operated buses and minibuses continue to be a major source of air pollution.
Some International Environment acts:
- Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol:
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, 1973 (CITES):
- Basel Convention on Movements and Disposal of Hazardous Wastes, 1989:
- Ramsar Convention, 1971:
Major Environmental and Related Laws of Bangladesh:
Roughly, the Environmental Laws can be categorized as follows:
- A. Pollution
- B. Occupational Hazard and Safety
- C. Dangerous substances and Public protection
- D. Displacement , Relief and Rehabilitation
- E. Management of Land
- F. Agricultural Resources Management
- G. Water Resource Management
- H. Fishery
- I. Forestry
- J. Wildlife
- K. Energy and Mineral resources
- L. Rural and Urban planning
- M. Transportation and Safety
- Assess the major challenges in the area of environment,
- Assess the existing policies in terms of their implementation and weaknesses
- Provide policy guidelines for managing a sustainable environment for Bangladesh
- Suggest action plans for immediate and medium terms.
The Ministry of Environment & Forests is the nodal agency in the administrative structure of the Central Government, for the planning, promotion, co-ordination and overseeing the implementation of environmental and forestry programme. MOEF oversees all environmental matters in the country and is a permanent member of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council.
The Ministry is also plays a pivotal role as participant of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Programs initiated by the European Commission:
- ManagEnergy – ManagEnergy information services for Local and Regional Energy Actors.
- Intelligent Energy – Europe programme.
- Sustainable Energy Europe Campaign
- CONCERTO – A Commission initiative for sustainable energy in local communities.
- Energy & Transport Research Activities.
- EPBD Building Platform.
- Sustainable Energy Europe 2008-2010 a European Campaign to raise awareness and change the landscape of energy.
Against this backdrop, major environmental issues of Bangladesh include:
- Population pressure on the ecology of Bangladesh
- Process of rapid urbanization and its impact on Bangladesh
- Increase in the rate of pollution and their impacts
- Disasters and consequence of disasters on the environment
Following set of policies that already exist in Bangladesh:
- Environment Act 1995; NCS report, NEMAP report
- Existing legal framework and the Environment Court
- National Water policy, Forest policy, Land policy, Agriculture policy and Fisheries policy
- A network of Protected Areas, a list of Ecologically Critical Areas (ECAs)
- Environment Regulation of 1997 and requirement for conducting Environmental Impact assessment for project.
The committee also divided their discussions in terms of the following management issues that are integral part of our sustainable management of the environment.
- Wetland management including over-draining
- Coastal and Marine zone management including water logging.
- Watershed management and regional co-operations
- Fisheries and Forestry Management including issues related to shrimp culture
- Managing exotic species (in particular management of Alien Invasive Species)
- Managing Genetically Modified Organisms and Living Modified Organisms in Agriculture
- International Treaties, Conventions and Protocols and position of Bangladesh
- Management of urban and industrial pollution
- Management of wastes with focus on hospital and toxic wastes
- Water supply and sanitation
- Natural Disasters
- Rules, regulations and enforcement status.
Any planning effort must be for the people as there the users of environmental resources in the final analysis. The constitution of Bangladesh begins its preamble, “We, the people oh Bangladesh having proclaimed our independence…”.In article 7(1) of the preamble, the constitution proclaims “All powers in the republic belong to the people, and their exercise on behalf of the people shall be effective only under, and by the authority of this constitution.
The Govt. of Bangladesh through its ministry of environment & forest decided to undertake the national environmental policy.
Major environmental acts of Bangladesh:
- United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity signed at Rio de Jeneiro on 5th June 1992:
- Article 15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity recognizes that the authority to determine access to genetic resources rests with the national governments and is subject to national legislation.
- States have committed in Article 8 in the Convention of Biological Diversity to respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovation and practices.
- The conservation, reproduction, enhancement, maintenance, management and sustainable use of biological and genetic resources in Bangladesh is extremely crucial for ensuring food security and survival under stress caused by natural calamities or created by human actions, and the protection and the regulation of access and use is vital for the survival of the people of Bangladesh in a competitive world under severe environmental and ecological crisis.
- It is recognized that biological diversity is being reduced by many human activities and if left unprotected can be lost by unauthorized collection and exploitation. the communities play vital roles in generating and enhancing biological diversity and related knowledge, intellectual practice and culture and the responsibility of the State is to create legal, administrative and policy environment to facilitate this role; strengthening of national capacity in science and technology with regard to biological resources is a national priority in order to achieve technological and economic self-reliance.
- Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act (BECA) is set of laws enacted by the government of Bangladesh in 1995:
- The Act followed the establishment of the Ministry of Environment and Forest in 1989 and the National Environment Management Action Plan (NEMAP) in 1992, as well as the Forest Policy in 1994 and the Forestry Master Plan (1993-2012) in 1993. Despite the Act and its supporting laws and policies the environmental degradation of Bangladesh continues principally under the population pressure.
- The law ensures assistance from law enforcing agencies and other authorities.
- It declares the ecologically critical area.
- The act restricts regarding vehicles emitting smoke injurious to environment, restricts on manufacture, sale etc. of article s injurious to environment.
- It takes remedial measures for injury to ecosystem.
- The Environment Court act, 2000:
- Bill stipulates a maximum punishment of five years of imprisonment or 5,00,000 taka in fine or both for people guilty of polluting the environment. State minister for environment and forest Hasan Mahmud placed the Bill in the House against the backdrop of widespread pollution of air and water across Bangladesh.
- The Bill proposed an amendment to the law making provisions for establishment of an environment court in each district headquarters.
- The Bill also proposed a provision for allowing any aggrieved person to sue a polluter and demand compensation.
- The new bill proposed another provision to empower the director general of the Department of Environment to dispose of any case, even if it is pending with an environment court, through mediation between the plaintiff and the accused.
- The Cabinet on July 19 approved the draft Bill seeking amendments to the Environment Court Act 2000.
- According to the existing Environment Court Act 2000, an aggrieved person has to apply to the Department of Environment to seeking redress for pollution, and no court can take cognisance of any offence of pollution without a report submitted by an inspector in writing.
- It stipulates provisions for setting up environment courts in the divisional headquarters with joint district judges.
- Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan 2009:
- The ministers of finance, agriculture, food and disaster management, foreign, women and children affairs, water resources, shipping, health and family welfare, and LGRD, and secretaries of the cabinet division, finance division and the central bank’s governor are, among others, members of the trustee board to be led by the minister for environment and forest.
- The bill also proposed formation of a 12-member technical committee comprised of government officials and climate change experts to assist the trustee board to perform its functions.
- The board will work on climate change adaptation, mitigation, technology transfer, finance and investment and take necessary actions for conducting research.
- It will have a “climate change trust fund” which will be consisted of funds received from the government, donor agencies and countries and different sources approved by the government.
- In defense of enactment of the legislation, the state minister said Bangladesh has been recognized as the most vulnerable country regarding the effects of climate change.
- The government has already taken various measures including approval of Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan 2009 and also formed a climate change trust fund to tackle possible adverse impacts of climate change, he said.
- Environment Act (Amendment) Bill, 2010:
- Abdul Momin Talukder, chairman of the parliamentary watchdog on environment and forest ministry, said this on Saturday at a seminar on 'Inclusion of Environmental Rights in the new Constitution of Bangladesh' organised by Paribesh Bachao Andolon (Save environment movement), at the National Press Club.
- We've to protect the forests and environment for our national interest. So we, the members of the ruling party and the main opposition, are working from the same platform."
- Talkuder expressed his hope that the government will work sincerely to stop land and river grabbing. He also sought the people's assistance in this regard.
- Supreme Court lawyer Abu Raihan Muhammed Khalid read out the keynote paper, titled 'Inclusion of Environmental Rights in the new Constitution of Bangladesh' at the seminar.
- Khalid demanded that the natural environment and wildlife should be recognised as the public property in the constitution.
- Degradation of environmental has become a major national problem for a long time. It is high time the issues be included to the constitution clearly, he said.
- "The government has taken initiatives for the amendment to the constitution. However, there is no specific provision in the constitution for environmental preservation. Those, which exist, are very weak and unclear," the lawyer added.
- National Human Rights Commission chairman professor Dr Mizanur Rahman urged people from all walks of life to support implementation of the new law to protect the environment.
- Saber Hossain Chowdhury, chairman of the all party parliamentary committee on environment and climate change, said both the state and the citizens have responsibilities to protect the environment in line with the constitution.
- "In the draft, we have proposed full execution of the sections of the Act. It is the duty of the government as well as of the people to protect the environment," he stressed.
- Chaired by president of Paribesh Bachao Andolon Abu Naser Khan, the seminar was also addressed by Jagannath University teacher Dr Nurul Alam and human rights worker Maruf Rahman.
- Bangladesh has approved a law that sets jail terms of up to 12 years for deliberately killing tigers and other wild animals endangered in the South Asian country, officials said on Saturday.
- A recent cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also agreed to provide reparations to the families of victims killed or maimed by the animals that range between 100,000 taka ($1,415) and 50,000 taka.
- Environment Court Bill 2010:
- The government has also placed the Climate Change Trust Bill 2010 in the legislature.
- Two bills were placed in parliament yesterday seeking to increase power and number of environment courts to take stern actions against polluters and also to establish a trust to tackle adverse impacts of climate change.
- State Minister for Environment and Forest Hasan Mahmud placed the bills, which were sent to the parliamentary standing committees on environment and forest ministry for scrutiny.
- The bill to enact new law aims to expedite trial of environment related offences and offers setting up environment court at every district headquarters with expanded jurisdiction to take stern actions against all sorts of polluters.
- A judicial officer of the rank of a joint district judge will be appointed as the judge of the environment court to conduct trial of environment related offences alongside his general jurisdiction.
- The bill also proposed for setting up one or more special magistrate’s courts at district level with the authority to hold trial of environment offences and issue order to confiscate goods and other materials as punishment.
- It proposed repealing the existing Environment Court Act, 2000 which allows the government to form court only at divisional headquarters. According to the existing law, a person might be jailed for maximum three years or fined Tk 3 lakh for polluting environment.
- But the proposed legislation increased the jail term up to five years and the fine up to Tk 5 lakh.
- Both the special magistrate’s court and the environment court will enjoy authority to realise fines from the offenders. Besides, the courts may order to meet expenses for conducting cases and give the money in compensation to the affected individuals or organisations.
- In defence of the new legislation, the state minister said the special magistrate can only run mobile courts under the existing laws to take actions against only production, import, marketing, stocking of polythene shopping bags and against vehicles responsible for polluting environment by emitting smoke.
- “The special magistrate’s court cannot take actions against serious environment related offences under the existing law,” he said in a brief statement tagged with the copy of the bill.
- Under the proposed law, all sorts of cases involving environment pollution can be filed with the special magistrate’s courts, Hasan Mahmud added.
Figure: Waste management ratio
Various laws are in force to address the pollution of air, water and soil. Earliest legislation dealing with pollution of the environment is the Penal Code of 1860. It contains various provisions relating to the offences affecting the public health, safety and convenience and offences affecting human body and life through pollution in the environment. The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1989 also has provisions against occurrence of public nuisance through environmental hazard. The Smoke Nuisance Act, 1905 addresses the issue of abatement of nuisances arising from the smoke of furnaces or fire-places in certain areas in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Environmental Conservation Act, 1995 (ECA) is undoubtedly the flagship legislation in the environment sector. It deals exhaustively with the conservation of environment, improvement of environmental standards and control and mitigation of environmental pollution. It provides the de facto definition of ‘pollution’. Coupled with the Environmental Conservation Rules, 1997, the ECA has set a new standard for conservation of the environment. Conservation of Playing field, Open space, Garden and Natural Water Body Act, 2000 (enacted in Bengali) also contains provisions for environmental conservation. By the Environment Court Act 2000, a special court was established which now hears matters related to environment. It is to be noted that although the number of legislation dealing with environmental issues directly or indirectly is quite large, the case law is equally few and as such there is a general lack of direction. – by Adnan M L Karim
Wetlands are key for maintenance of our rich biological heritage. Haors and Beels, a unique ecosystem, are being threatened due to both human activities as well as natural causes. Of the major activities in the haors, crop production generates the maximum pressure on it. This, however, is not to say that haors cannot be used for crop production but to focus on the fact the indiscriminate use of fertiliser and pesticides are gradually killing the biodiversity in the haors. Few of these haors are also designated as protected areas. The mangrove ecosystem in the coastal belt is another pride collection of our rich biological heritage. It is now an integral part of the world heritage sites. Sundarban is being pressurised by human actions to collect honey, wax, timber, fuel wood, fish and leaves. The ecological conditions of Sundarban are deteriorating due to over fishing and over extracting its resources. Besides, there are numerous rivers, khals and other wetlands in Bangladesh. Management of these wetlands in a sustainable manner is a key for our success in future. Most wetlands are under public ownership and are ‘open access’ areas. Consequently, it is natural to observe over-extraction of resources and degradation of the wetland ecosystems. Wetland productivity and biodiversity are declining all over the country.
Waste management will become a major problem in all urban cities of Bangladesh. This is because of (a) increased pace of urbanization, (b) changes in the pattern of consumables by urban households and (c) insufficient capacity of waste removal by the municipalities and city corporations. Most municipalities also lack effective means to guarantee daily removal of wastes and overall there is a major problem of monitoring wastes. Estimates have shown that per capita garbage disposal is near 0.5 kilogram in major urban locations in Dhaka (BBS, 1997).
While the municipalities and the city corporations are mainly responsible for disposal of garbage severe problems persists in removal of garbage for the following reasons:
Organic and inorganic garbage’s are not separated at source and so dumping of these garbage’s in the landfill sites is becoming risky as the risk of groundwater contamination increases. Some of the toxic and hazardous components of the wastes, particularly hospital and industrial wastes while mixed with household garbage increase the risk of spread of diseases. Untreated liquid garbage once dumped into the open water bodies destroys the fish habitat and some of it toxic components may eventually go into the human food chain. Collection of household garbage by the city corporations and the municipalities are insufficient and so a large percentage (often more than 50%) of the garbage is left on city streets.
Pictures: Natural Bangladesh
Bangladesh is one of the least developing countries with a low resource base, a burgeoning population with a very low land-man ratio, often threatened by both natural & anthropogenic stresses. The vast majority of the population lives almost exclusively on the natural resource base. This resource base is under serious threat and environmental planning is essential for the survival with dignity for Bangladesh’s over 16.5 crore people & for sustainability of the echo system.
Like all other nations of the world Bangladesh also acted to the global call for the protection and conservation of natural environment & ecology. Industrial development significantly contributes towards economic growth of a country. It brings along with it a host of environmental problem too. It is increasingly being recognized in Bangladesh as in other part of the world that for development to be meaningful & sustainable over a longer period environmental concern must be integrated into all development.
Pictures: A Sustainable & environmentally sound world
Most of the discussions above included some details on enforcement of the law. For
Environment the following institutions are directly involved for implementation of the laws and regulations.
- Department of Environment – under the Environment Act 1997, DoE is responsible for maintaining the quality of our environment. It has been given powers to regularly monitor and regulate polluting industries. So far, their actions are limited only in providing certification and authorization for setting up industries.
- The quality of enforcement of the DoE must be improved dramatically so that they can be the national watchdog on environment.
- Department of Agriculture – is responsible for development of agricultural sector in the country. Given the threat posed by GMOs and LMOs, DoA should develop a clear policy in dealing with this new threat. The objective of the department of agriculture should be broadening to include implementation of sustainable strategy of management of agricultural production. Crop rotation as a strategy of sustainable production must be encouraged among the farmers. Department should encourage and educate farmers on organic farming and method of production with minimum use of pesticides and fertilisers.
- Department of Forests – under the Forest Act (amended up to 2000) this department is responsible for managing forests and parks. The performance of this department is less than satisfactory in terms of maintaining the forests.
- Forest Management and Management of the Parks should be separate under two directorates. The job of the Forest Department should be to ensure sustainable management of forests and the job of the Parks Department should be to ensure conservation of the nature.
- Department of Fisheries – under the Fisheries policy, this department is responsible for management of all open water fisheries. Fisheries department is yet to show that they are in charge of regulating production of fishes from open access water bodies like the rivers, lakes and oceans. The objective of fisheries management should be to ensure sustainable harvest of open water fishes.
- Water Development Board – this board is responsible for management of all structures in and around the lakes and lagoons and maintenance of embankments, barrages, etc. The major objectives of these structures were flood control, irrigation and drainage. So far, public participation in management of these structures was less prominent in the actions of the WDB.
- Ensuring public participation in the management of the flood control, irrigation and drainage structure should be emphasized. Municipalities, City Corporations, City Development Corporations, RAJUK, etc., are also involved in controlling resources and maintaining the quality of the environment. We have discussed their roles in sections above.
- Environment Court – under the Environment Act, environment courts are expected to be setup in several locations where environment related litigation will be tried. Government is yet to set up these courts and it is not yet clear whether legal actions can be taken against the institutions that have failed in their authority to safeguard our environment.
Education and awareness on environment are essential part of sound ecological management. In this, Bangladesh has, at least, claimed some success than the government. Media reports on environment have increased over the past years. Formal education has already included courses on environment as a part of the curriculum. Non-formal education has also included environmental awareness in the curriculum.
At the same time, a large number of NGOs are involved in terms of building awareness on environment among the public. Some are involved in training, some in disseminating information and others are more directly involved in managing local resources using environment friendly technologies.
- McCormick, John (2001). Environmental Policy in the European Union. The European Series. Palgrave. p. 21.
- Bührs, Ton; Bartlett, Robert V (1991). Environmental Policy in New Zealand. The Politics of Clean and Green. Oxford University Press. p. 9.
- Concise Oxford Dictionary, 1995
- A major article outlining and analyzing the history of environmental communication policy within the European Union has recently come out in The Information Society, a journal based in the United States. See Mathur, Piyush. "Environmental Communication in the Information Society: The Blueprint from Europe," The Information Society: An International Journal, 25: 2, March 2009, pages 119 – 138.
- Rushefsky, Mark E. (2002). Public Policy in the United States at the Dawn of the Twenty-first Century (3rd ed.). New York: M.E. Sharpe, Inc.. pp. 253–254. ISBN 978-0765616630.
- Envirowise UK Portal Government funded site offering environmental policy advice
- Responding to Climate Change Climate Change organization publishing annually since 2002.
- Green Policy Canadian organization focused on the collection, analysis and continuous improvement of companies green policies.
- Resources for the Future A nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that conducts independent research — rooted primarily in economics and other social sciences — on environmental, energy, and natural resource issues.
- EEA/OECD Environmental Policy and Natural Resource Management database.
- http://www.oecd.org/about/0,3347, en_2649_34281_1_1_1_1_ 1,00.html
- http://www "Instrument Mixes for Environmental Policy" (Paris: OECD Publications, 2007).
- http://www “Environmental Policies and Instruments,”