All are equal in the eyes of law, says the environment watchdog’s Chittagong metro director
The Department of Environment (DoE) has recently intensified its drives against offenders harming the environment in and around Chittagong city.
As a result, the state-owned enterprises, alongside many private companies, that are violating environmental rules have faced the wrath of the environment watchdog over the past few months.
On February 27, the DoE fined Eastern Refinery Ltd, a state-owned petroleum refinery, Tk76 lakh for polluting the Karnaphuli River by releasing liquid waste beyond the acceptable limit.
DoE Director (Chittagong Metro) Mohammad Nurullah Noori also asked the factory authorities to stop polluting the river by releasing untreated liquid waste.
On February 20, the DoE penalized the state-owned fertilizer manufacturing company TSP Complex Ltd, with a Tk10 lakh fine for polluting the Karnaphuli River.
On February 12, the DoE fined Spectra Engineers Limited, a contracting firm, Tk5.23 crore for cutting hills at Sitakunda's Salimpur area.
The contracting firm illegally razed 92,700 square feet of hills in Salimpur while implementing a link road project undertaken by Chittagong Development Authority.
As a warning, on January 29 this year, the DoE fined Chittagong Development Authority (CDA) Tk10.38 crore for cutting hills at more than the approved limit, and damaging biodiversity.
On July 17 last year, the DoE ordered a suspension of operation of state-owned Hathazari 100MW Peaking Power Plant for discharging untreated toxic liquid waste into a water body connected to the Halda River.
At the time, the environment protection agency had also fined the power plant, for the second time since its inauguration back in 2012, with a hefty amount of Tk20 lakh.
The plant authorities were asked not to resume operation until they set up and activate an Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) and an Oil-Water Separator. The DoE also asked it to dispose of the accumulated sludge without causing any harm to the environment.
DoE Director (Chittagong Metro) Mohammad Nurullah Noori told Dhaka Tribune that all are equal in the eyes of law.
“The state-owned enterprises are not exempted in the existing environmental rules. As for pollution, no separate parameter has been fixed for the state-owned enterprises in the environmental laws.
“All, be it a state-owned enterprise or privately-owned enterprise or any individual, should abide by the laws,” he said.