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Making polluters pay

  • Published at 09:51 pm July 4th, 2019
Photo: MEHEDI HASAN
Photo: MEHEDI HASAN

Encroachers and polluters are normally not too bothered about having to pay those fines

Dhaka has, time and again, been ranked as among the most polluted cities in the world, with the air quality being classified as “unhealthy.”

So far, governmental policies have not fully reflected the urgency of the matter, and pollution level rises unabated, with polluters getting away with impunity.

That is why the suggestion of the Director General of the Department of Environment struck the right note, where, at a seminar at DoE headquarters in Dhaka, he suggested taking a hard stance by making polluters pay fully for the damage they cause to the environment.

The “polluter pays” principle is a theoretically sound and commonly applied practice, whereby those responsible for producing pollution are made to bear the cost of managing it in order to prevent damage to the public health or the environment. 

While there are certain fines in place, encroachers and polluters are normally not too bothered about having to pay those fines, because the amount is negligible for them. 

The air and water of our capital city have been abused to the point where, as the Director General has noted, “Dhaka requires a life support system to survive.”

It is high time, then, to find those culprits and crack down on the ones who have been polluting with impunity while society pays the prices.

The obvious polluters are, of course, brick kilns, accounting for 58% of air pollution, construction work, making up 18%, and the transport sector, responsible for some 10% of air pollution; focusing on curbing the environmentally destructive activities of these sectors would be an effective place to start.