World Bank is fully committed to support Bangladesh on environmental issues as it is a vulnerable country in this sector, said Zahid Hussain, lead economist and acting country director at the World Bank’s Dhaka office.
“When growth comes at the cost of environment, it cannot sustain. The good news is that we have seen it is possible to grow cleaner and greener without growing slower,” Zahid expressed his views while delivering his speech as a special guest at a workshop arranged by the World Bank on Sunday morning at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka.
“To sustain its strong growth performance, Bangladesh simply cannot afford to ignore the environment,” The WB official added.
Bangladesh must plan and act now to prevent environmental degradation and ensure climate resilience, he told the workshop titled “Bangladesh: Unlocking Opportunities for Clean and Resilient Growth (Country Environmental Analysis-Preliminary Findings)”.
Kseniya Lvovsky, practice manager at WB Group’s Environment and Natural Resources Global Practice, presented the introductory remarks and an overview of the workshop.
According to the Country Environmental Analysis (CEA), a World Bank analytical tool used to integrate environmental issues into development assistance strategies, programs, and projects, Bangladesh has been losing 1% of its GDP every year due to air pollution.
Non-compliant industries and inadequate waste management of hazardous and non-hazardous materials are polluting the cities’ air as well as surface and ground water.
For each ton of fabrics, the dyeing and finishing factories discharge 200 tons of waste water to rivers leading to serious health hazards in the capital’s poorer neighborhood.
Dhaka and other cities are facing severe air and water pollution due to rapid and unplanned urbanization. To achieve an upper-middle income status with climate resilience, Bangladesh must check environmental degradation, particularly in the urban areas, says a new World Bank analysis.
The analysis report focused on four areas – cost of environmental degradation, urban wetlands, cleaner technologies, and institutions. The analysis suggests that the country needs to manage its urbanization and industrialization process in an environmentally sustainable way.
To enforce environment-friendly policies, the government must strengthen the institutions and regulatory frameworks.
Unabated pollution is affecting both the big and small cities. For example, around 600,000 dwellers in Dhaka are exposed to lead contamination, which can lead to IQ loss and neurological damage, especially among children.
Environment and Forest Minister Anwar Hossain Manju, while speaking at the event, said our people should be aware of environment as it is has an effect on our GDP.
He blamed the unscrupulous politicians for the decline of rivers and canals across the country.
Director General of Department of Environment (DoE) Raisul Alam Mondal proposed setting up a training institute under the DoE at the event.