From the Editor-in-Chief: Let us reclaim nature

Enayetullah Khan
Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
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Rajshahi city has been recognized for the charming role it has played in reducing air pollution within its territory. The recognition, coming as it does on a global scale, does us all proud and testifies to the fact that given the will, all of us can yet do wonders for the planet we inhabit. For the people of Bangladesh in particular, the fact that Rajshahi has achieved this feat at a time when the country is beset with myriad problems is a pointer to what good leadership and a prioritization of issues can do. There is little question that in these difficult times, it is the climate, indeed the broad environment, which claims our attention and not just in Bangladesh. All across the globe, there is a serious realization that unless we claw back to a position where the environment can be stabilized, we run the risk of endangering our very future on Earth.


It is against such a backdrop that the Rajshahi situation needs to be evaluated. In fact, the achievement which Rajshahi has attained ought now to be replicated in other areas of the country, especially in the nation’s capital. There is a very special need to create the conditions which will or can roll back the factors which have contributed to the making of the capital into a sprawling urban slum in recent years. One cannot but agree with the notion that unlike other national capitals around the world, Dhaka does not fulfill the conditions which will allow it to be regarded as a decent place in the global community. To be sure, the history of Dhaka has had a whole lot to do with this predicament, seeing that until it became part of the eastern province of Pakistan in 1947, it had been a provincial backwater. Even as a provincial capital and later as the capital of the sovereign state of Bangladesh, it failed to measure up to standards in operation worldwide because of its peculiar legacy.


Such a condition needs to be rolled back, the emphasis being on a restoration of the Green Dhaka that until the mid 1970s defined the city. But the focus need not be on the capital alone. All over the country in these past few decades, what has been put across as development has done immense damage to nature, to the ecology of the land. In contrast to other cities in the world, Bangladesh’s towns and cities have been prey to a loss of trees and overall greenery, with the result that pollution has done the kind of damage we are now struggling to emerge from.


Let the message go out that it is time to beat pollution. And that will come through a determined return to nature. Rajshahi has shown us the way.

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