'Rising sea levels are a serious issue for Bangladesh and the whole world'
A two-day conference on climate change and sustainable development kicked off in Dhaka on Wednesday.
The conference, “Environmental Solutions for Sustainable Development: Towards Developed Bangladesh,” organized by the Forest and Environment Affairs Sub Committee of Awami League, is being held at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban of Dhaka University.
Environment activists, researchers, and scientists from 20 countries, including the USA, Japan, Malaysia, Austria, China, and Sweden, joined the conference.
Gregory J Howard, consultant of European Union chemical policy, said the biggest problem for the next century is climate change.
“Rising sea levels are a serious issue for Bangladesh and the whole world,” he said.
He also said that lead has been found in turmeric in Bangladesh and food contaminated with lead is highly dangerous for the health of Bangladeshi people.
Awami League presidium member and Agriculture Minister Abdur Razzaque spoke at the conference as chief guest. He said the government is working to ensure a safe environment and social safety for upcoming generations alongside economic development.
He said: “Infrastructure, business, employment, and other sectors in Bangladesh have already been affected by climate change. Lifestyle is also being changed.”
He said that climate change has affected agriculture in Bangladesh as agriculture, weather, and the environment are closely related.
Dr Ainun Nishat, professor emeritus at Brac University, was the theme speaker of the conference, while former Bangladesh Bank governor Dr Atiur Rahman chaired the session.
Dr Ainun said Bangladesh passed a resolution claiming the climate change issue is becoming an emergency situation, but Bangladesh itself is not prepared to tackle the situation.
He said: “Environment means not only forests, rivers, and animals. Environment means everything including human beings. Environment will be fine if human beings are doing well.”
Former education secretary Nazrul Islam Khan chaired the plenary discussion session while Dr Atiq and Gregory J Howard discussed climate change further.
“Community based adaptation due to climate change has started, driven by people across the world and people did not wait for government initiatives,” said Atiq.
He said universal application of the rule of law must be implemented and one of the fundamental issues about common properties like land, water, sea and mountain should be protected.
Delwar Hossain, forest and environment secretary of Awami League, said the main goal of the conference is to raise awareness in people about the environment along with finding out the causes and solutions for problems due to climate change.