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Research Paper(s)

Shahidul Haque, Hasida Yasmin and Md. Hasibur Rahman


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Prepared by

Shahidul Haque, Director (Administration);
Hasida Yasmin, Director (Finance) &
Md. Hasibur Rahman, Executive Director

Environment and Agricultural Development Studies Center

The World’s population is increasing at an alarming rate in every year, more in developing country like Bangladesh and it is impacting on demographic pressure. Considerably, deforestation, unplanned urbanization and industrialization more over unsustainable development is degrading the environment unanimously by increasing air, water & soil pollution and enhancing natural disastrous. High density of population pressure around 900 people lived in a square kilometer and over exploitation of the natural resources is most vulnerable to deteriorate environment in Bangladesh. To mitigate environmental pollution, population control, sustainable development is needs to introduce in every sector of development including industrial and agricultural sector. Environmental pollution, such as soil degradation, water pollution and air pollution which is increasing green house gas emission will enhance global warming, sea level rise and climate change. Sea level rises would be most worsening situation for the low-lying countries like Bangladesh. Disastrous which cannot be stop but can be managed with adequate planning and adaptation. Government policy can play a key role to minimize vulnerability of natural disastrous or take adequate preparation to face and eventually overcome inevitable disastrous or adopt sustainable development. Proper Policy making, sustainable development and awareness raising on environmental population is in need to create mass conscious to conserve the natural resources in sustainable way and as well as natural resources management in every sector is important component to keep the ecosystem in better position of Bangladesh.

1. Introduction:

Bangladesh is one of the least development countries with a low resources base under high population pressure, a very land-man ratio. The vast majority of the population depends on natural resources base, but most of these resources are over-exploiting and causing environmental degradation. Bangladesh is a developing country lies in the north eastern part of South Asia between 20º34' to 26º38' North latitude and 88º01' to 92º41' east latitude. More than 124 million people live in a country of 147570 sq. km area. Rapid rate of population growth increasing poverty, unemployment, scarce of natural resources leading the country to least development. On the other hand, environment of Bangladesh degrading by several way such as unplanned industrialization and urbanization, vehicular pollution, deforestation, unsustainable agricultural practices etc. Environmental pollution means such contamination or alteration of the physical, chemical or biological properties of air, water and soil including change in temperature, odour, noise, turbidity, ray and to the original properties, which is harmful to public health, livestock, wildlife, fish and other biodiversity.

Bangladesh is facing many environmental problems, natural and man-made, such as soil degradation, desertification, industrial and vehicular pollution, unplanned urbanization, over-exploitation of natural resources, river erosion, frequent flooding, cyclone and other natural disastrous. Environmental degradation causing seriously with the high rate of population growth and poverty. With the views of mitigating measures of pollution level Bangladesh government has been taken some initiatives, promulgated Environment Conservation Act, Rules and legislation. Recently Bangladesh government has declared six Ecological Critical Areas (ECAs) to conserve the natural resources and biodiversity and also by the declaration of "Sundarban" forest area as World Heritage as sanctuary of the wildlife and biodiversity.

2. Key Environmental Pollution Issues

2.1 Industrial Pollution

A small number of industrial growths contributing more pollution due to lack of proper waster management and effluent treatment plant. The industrial sector in the country only accounts for around 10-16% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The current total number of industrial units in the country is about 30,000, out of them 24,000 are small and cottage industries and rest 6000 are medium, with a few scores of large units. Department of Environment has identified 1176 industries as most polluting industries. There exist only a few designated industrial areas in the country. Private sector industries are being setup anywhere and everywhere specially the garments industries setup in the Dhaka and Chittagong City. Pollution control measures are generally non-assistant from the part of entrepreneurs or the estate operators, and erecting the industries without think about environmental concerns. A large number of solid wastes is generated in many industries which is disposed off by open dumping in Bangladesh. As many industrial wastes contain toxic substances, they pollute the soil at disposal sites. Industrial pollution is caused by untreated gaseous emission, liquid effluent and solid wastes being discharged from different industry. The government of Bangladesh is planning to buildup garments and leather industrial zone outside the Dhaka city as done in Export Processing Zones (EPZ).

Most of the brick burning industry established near the city for better marketing and communication. These brick kiln are degrading the environment in two ways, i.e. uses of fuel-wood as a energy source causing deforestation and emission of pollutants that contains suspended particular matters, carbon mono-oxides, sulfur dioxides, fluorine etc. are degrading ambient air quality. One the other hand clay soil are using as a raw material of brick production, for these reason top soil are cutting away from the productive land are unanimously degrading soil properties.

2.2 Vehicular Pollution

Major vehicular air pollutants are Suspended Particular Matter (SPM), Carbon dioxides, Sulfur dioxides, Carbon Mono-oxides, Hydrocarbon, Nitrogen oxides and harmful particulate of lead (Pb) compounds with the un-burn fuel particles, black smock etc. The emission from diesel engines is black smoke, carbon mono-oxides, un-burn hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide are impacting on human health and enhancing green house gas emission. Most dangerous air pollution is causing by the two-stroke petrol engines vehicles, such as motor cycle, scooters and three wheelers are less burning efficient vehicles and emitted a large amount un-burn fuel and CO than four-stroke or diesel engines. According to the Department of Environment there are 70-80 percent of vehicles are very poor in condition and creating major air pollution in urban area of Bangladesh.

2.3 Agro-Chemicals Pollution

Modernization of agriculture has led to an extensive use of fertilizers and pesticides, which is used to kill pest and cover insecticides, fungicides, herbicides etc. Although production of food-grain and other crops has increased significantly by the use of fertilizers and pesticides but the soil properties has been degrading due to indiscriminate use of chemicals. Unsustainable use of fertilizer or pesticides would degrade the land to non-productive agricultural land. Farmers spraying pesticides and using fertilizers, in many cases, are suffering from heart and skin diseases. Cows, goats and other domestic animals eating fertilizer feed and pesticides-affected grasses are also suffering from various diseases. Fish population in the rivers, ponds and other water bodies has drastically decreases due to water pollution by chemical effects including fertilizers and pesticides. Once pesticides are applied that impacts on environment in several ways such as soil, water and air pollution, crops, sediments, residual effects and finally directly or indirectly effects on human health through food chain.

2.4 Urbanization:

Population growth reflecting on unplanned urbanization that resulting in lack of housing, water supply, sanitation, garbage disposal, proper drainage and flooding system, education, community services, greenery, fresh air or healthy environment. Serious problems of environmental degradation regulating from unplanned landuse alteration, urbanization and also by inadequate management at domestic wastes. Provision of planned settlement with adequate water, electricity, gas and sanitation system will improve urban life in Bangladesh.

2.5 Population Pressure

The population of Bangladesh estimated 124 million in January, 1997 and growing at a rate 2.17 percent. Average population density is about 900 per square kilometer. The population is overwhelmingly rural is about 80 per cent are involved in various agricultural activities and they are completely depends on natural resources for their daily life. High rate of population growth increasing poverty and other related social problem increases tremendous pressure on natural resources thus they are over exploiting natural resources. Increasing demands of food and shelter they are cutting forest to create more agricultural land, intensive cultivation causing soil degradation and deteriorating the environment rapidly.

3. Environment Conservation Strategies

Economic developments are inhibiting by the ever-growing population of Bangladesh, so population control would be the principal objective before think about any development activity of the country. Government of Bangladesh has taken some initiatives to identify the causes of population growth, poverty and try to mitigate the causes as the principal objective and also giving attention on human resources development. Through enhanced programs in education, has been prioritization as a means to achieving better human resources. Environmental concerns have been integrated into all development in Bangladesh as well as other countries of the world for better environment.

Bangladesh Government has taken a number of important initiatives to conservation of natural resources and environmental protection. The Government adopted an Environment policy in 1992 together with an Action plan. The Government of Bangladesh with a view to providing for conservation and improvement of environmental quality and mitigating pollution of the environment, enacted the Environment Conservation Act, 1995 and also the Act, Environment Conservation Rules 1997 has been framed. National Environment Management Action Plan (NEMAP) has been framed to identified key environmental issues, conserve the nature, reduce environmental degradation, promote sustainable development and generally raise the quality of human life. Bangladesh is committed to protection of the environment globally, regionally and locally. It has signed the Montreal protocol, the Basal Convention, the Framework convention on climate change, the convention on Biological Diversity, the convention on combating Desertification and many such others. Bangladesh has initiated actions towards implementation of these international agreements. Bangladesh is in the process of preparing a National Agenda- 21, Environmental goals, policies, strategies and programme have well been incorporate in the country’s Fifth five year plan (1997- 2020) in order to ensure sustainable development. Besides, some international funding agencies, research organization and local non-government organization extends their hands by taking different development activities to mitigate environmental pollution and conserve natural resources.

4. Recommendation

1. Introduction of appropriate sustainable agricultural system with balanced use of chemical fertilizers incorporated organic minerals and green manure's.

2. Phase wise replacement of chemical fertilizer by organic fertilizer. Similarly biodegradable insecticide should be replace by the non-biodegradable insecticides.

3. The entrepreneur should take proper mitigation measures of industrial pollution by set-up of industrial waste treatment plant.

4. Control of insect, pests through biological, natural process, alternatives of using harmful insecticides or fungicides is important to introduce.

5. Promotion of research activities in the field of industrial waste utilization and waste recovery process.

6. Reutilization of agricultural residues through bio-conservation to industrial products.

7. Need proper implementation of Environmental Policy, Environment Conservation Act’s and Legislation.

8. Enhancement of the capacity of NGOs, Govt. agencies to successfully implement poverty alleviation program including non-formal education on environmental pollution awareness.

5. Conclusion

Environmental pollution causing adverse impacts on human beings all over the world that are also causing global warming and climate change. Environmental problem are facing in different ways in different countries, depend on pollution criteria and geographical location. But adverse impact of environmental pollution cannot be kept in a certain geographic boundary it will create global concern. Unsustainable use of natural resources, unplanned urbanization and industrialization’s deforestation is threatening global environmental pollution. Destruction of ecological balance would enhance natural disastrous, such as cyclone, tidal-surge, earthquake, desertification, drought, flood etc. Mitigation measures of the environmental pollution can be taken by locally, nationally or globally that would be ultimate as globally. It is fact that one country, one organization or one society cannot solve the problem of environmental pollution. Awareness programme on adverse impact of environmental pollution is need to disseminate among the mass people would help to minimize pollution level effectively. A great step needs to initiate by the human beings to minimize environmental pollution from ever corner of the world as global village.

6. References:

1. Bangladesh Economic Review, 1997. Ministry of Finance, Government of Bangladesh.

2. Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS, 1997). Statistical Year Book of Bangladesh, 1997.

3. Introducing DOE (June, 1997), Department of Environment, Ministry of Environment and Forest, Govt. of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.

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