City planners blame development projects for ecological disasters
Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP), in a recent study, has termed the lack of oversight by the Department of Environment (DoE) as the leading cause behind 70% of the ecosystem destruction in Bangladesh.
BIP conducted a study of 100 cases of environmental destruction to analyze the cause of biodiversity and ecological destruction, where they found that the DoE’s negligence was responsible for two-thirds of the cases.
On the occasion of World Environment Day 2021, BIP organized a virtual planning dialogue titled “Plan for Ecosystem Recovery” yesterday where city planners made their observations.
Also, the government’s various development projects were behind the destruction of different ecosystem restoration planning, alleged city planners.
In the session, city corporations, development authorities, and municipal planners working in different divisional and regional areas of Bangladesh have discussed contemporary planning initiatives, crises, and possibilities in ecological threats and recovery of ecosystems.
BIP Joint Secretary Mohammad Rasel Kabir gave a presentation on the 100 case studies where he analyzed the causes of biodiversity and ecological devastation of environmental disasters.
According to the report, out of 100 cases, the main cause behind environmental disasters was water pollution (42%), followed by air pollution (29%,) deforestation (17%), plastic pollution (4%) and other causes (8%).
BIP said in surveying the 100 case studies of environmental disasters, the Department of Environment was found responsible for 70% of ecosystem loss and environmental pollution.
The local administration, municipalities, and city corporations were also responsible along with the DoE, he claimed.
The organization blamed the forest department, business organizations, lack of planning, and people's responsibility as the other factors for ecological disasters.
To back up their claims, BIP said a total of 417 mills and factories have been set up around Shitalakshya River, in the eastern side of Siddhirganj in Narayanganj.
Of which, 105 factories did not have any Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP), while the remaining 312 factories had only nominal treatment plants, but instead of using them, they secretly or tactically dump contaminated waste in the river, said Rasel Kabir.
He also added that contaminated water is being mixed in the river through 4 pumps of DND (Dhaka-Narayanganj-Demra) pump house.
Also Read - OP-ED: The environment is also a casualty
He alleged that the indifference of the waste management units of the city corporation authorities was responsible in this case.
On the other hand, the DoE has not taken any legal action against the illegal industries alongside the rivers, Kabir alleged.
Maqsud Hashem, chief town planner of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), said Rajshahi is a prime example in waste management compared to other cities. “With their plan we can work with all the city corporations on waste management.”
Azmeri Ashrafi, town planner, Rajshahi Development Authority, said, there was continuous effort for 20 years behind their success.
“We are now starting a new project, ‘disaster risk sensitive land use plan,’ where we will work on earthquakes, floods, and warming of cities. But we have started campaigning for this since 2018,” the planner said.
BIP President Prof Akter Mahmud said any development and planning requires sensitivity to the environment.
“We have various policies to prevent environmental pollution. To maintain the ecosystem, one needs to be committed to the government policies. Then only we can develop infrastructure, by keeping the environment and ecosystem safe,” he said.