Environmental pollution is a transverse theme derived from joint consideration of the issue of the environment and environmental protection. It has become a glaring reality. The effects of environmental pollution are alarming. Bangladesh has been facing serious threats to the environment. The Development and survival of human fully depend on the peaceful and balance co-existence of environment. In modern times, human development corresponds to the concept of sustainable development and environment. In the Environmental Performance Index Report 2022, Bangladesh has ranked 177 out of 180 countries in reducing environmental pollution. The country's position in the index declined 15 steps in the last two years. In 2020 Bangladesh's position was 162.
Steady economic growth of our country has created many environmental challenges. The government and other agencies initiated a number of actions to control pollution. Yet the endeavors are quite inadequate in comparison with actual expectations. Environmental pollution of our country remains in poor shape and it portrays a gloomy scenario. Hence, adaptation to environmental challenges and protection of environment has become a challenge and concern of government as well as the population in the country. This is why, despite inadequacy of economic and technical resources; the government should take prompt decisions and actions to address the challenges of environmental hazards.
Extents of Environmental Pollution with their Sources
• Air pollution: In the Air Quality Index Report 2021- 2022 Bangladesh topped the air quality index for having the most polluted air. Dhaka had a score of 76.9 indicating that the associated health effects might be a concern for our government. In Dhaka city air is 10-15 micro grams per cubic meter. The main Sources of air Pollution are: Burning of Fossil fuel, Industrial discharge, Emissions from Vehicles and Use of biomass.
• Water Pollution: Surface water availability is shrinking World-wide due to imprudent use of it. Due to lack of proper implementation and monitoring water pollution problem is increasing day by day. The main sources of water pollution are: Industrial waste and effluent, Solid Waste, Sewerage Disposal, and Arsenic contamination.
• Plastic and Polythene Pollution: Plastic and polythene menace is worsening. Polythene and plastic culture is becoming a threat for world. According to the World Bank, Bangladesh ranks among the top 10 in the world in the use of plastic and polythene. In the year 2000- 2022 use of polythene increased three folds.
• Marine Pollution: The Bay of Bengal is affected by human waste, sewage disposal, agricultural and industrial waste products, oil sleeping from damaged super tankers and from other maritime disasters. Many ocean pollutants are released into the environment far upstream from coastlines.
Major Impacts of Environmental Pollution is as follows:
• Environmental pollution has severe effects on people of Bangladesh; it is threatening lives, livelihoods, infrastructure, human health, society, economy and sustainable development.
• According to World Bank Report 2022, environmental pollution is responsible for 32 per cent of deaths in Bangladesh. Toxic air claimed 88000 lives in2019 and it costs 3.9 to 4.4 of country's GDP in same year. Air pollution raises the risks of breathing difficulties, cough, lower respiratory tract infections,
• Industrial and sewage disposal cause scarcity of drinking water, extinction of aquatic plants and deteriorates navigability of rivers. Consumption of the contaminated water by ground water Arsenic has led to wide spread death and disease.
• Random use and unmanaged disposal of plastic and polythene materials cause water stagnancy, drainage congestion and pollutes environment. Unmanaged plastic and polythene waste have far-reaching consequences on human health.
• Marine pollution is very detrimental to the marine ecosystem and thus lessening capacity of the Sea to absorb CO2 Coastal zone of Bangladesh has been vulnerable to both physical and cultural intervention due to environmental pollution.
• The air in urban centers is already polluted by automobiles beyond safe limit. Emissions from brick making enhance Greenhouse Gas which estimated to be in the order of 6.4 million tons of CO2 annually.
• Massive deforestation causes severe soil erosion, landslides, river bank erosion, siltation, expands desert, creates disturbances in Carbon cycle and enhances Greenhouse effect.
Recommendations: The recommended strategies focus on the environmental problems addressing new environmental challenges, turning to towards a Greener development pathway and homegrown green technology. The proposed strategies are:
• Farmers should be made aware not to use excess chemical fertilizer, and to use organic fertilizer and pesticides. Research for devising environment friendly techniques to control pollution and ensuring applications of its realistic suggestions by government and concerned agencies.
• Proactive role of the media is essential to disseminate information about causes and impacts of pollution.
• Existing Environmental laws including the law banning production and use of polythene bags must be executed strictly with exemplary punishment.
• Before starting any development works, the proper authority must assess the environmental effects. Major policy thrust would be needed for strengthening the coping mechanism of the poor, against environmental pollution.
• Stopping deforestation and starting massive reforestation program to reduce CO2.
• Installation and proper functioning of ETP by mills and factories. The development of renewable energy, installation solar energy and biogas plants should be supported and encouraged.
• The government should enact the Proposed Clean Air Act to regulate the country's air quality and reduce air pollution as soon as possible. To reduce air pollution in Dhaka city, the coordination of governmental bodies is mandatory for their renovation of services in every winter season in Dhaka.
• We need to take massive program to prevent water pollution. A Regulatory Authority may be formed to save water bodies from the grasp of unrelenting violators of existing law.
• The government should implement the National Action Plan to reduce plastic pollution. We should endeavor our best to recycle plastic polythene materials and find out substitute of polythene shopping bags.
• Modern waste management methods should be applied in urban sewerage system. City Corporation should have an environment friendly treatment plant, where all garbage form city will be dumped or recycled.
• Shutting down all illegal brick kilns around the capital, encouraging 100 per cent eco-friendly green bricks kilns. Closing pollution creating outdated motor car, using gas and electricity instead of diesel / petrol as fuel and establishing efficient government monitoring cell.
• Maintaining Biodiversity as a national priority should be maintained by having the rate of habitat loss, expanding water and land areas under conservation, preventing extinction of species under threatened list and restoring at least 15% of degraded ecosystems.
Voices around the world are demanding action on protection of environment and its conservation. Let's build a greener future together for Bangladesh. Our vision of development must be sustainable; giving consideration above all to people, environment, climate, life, biodiversity and economic benefits. There is an urge for multi disciplinary concentration on environmental issues by scholars, policy makers, government, concerned agencies, industrialists and communities. Besides, at individual level we should mend our life styles, raise our voice, and play our parts to save ourselves and our nation. Our sensible choice of preserving the environment today, will lead to sound and secure future, as a birthright to future generations.
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