Economic success should contribute to the liveability of a nation
It is a sad reality that Bangladesh has been losing its forest land at an alarming rate.
An unfortunate side-effect of the refugee influx into the country has been the destruction of forest land spanning over 6,800 acres; so while trying to tackle one complex humanitarian problem, an ecological disaster has unintentionally taken place.
But it is good to see that our government is not resigned to the loss of greenery -- the foreign minister has announced that some 10 million saplings will be planted across the country starting next year.
This greening initiative, scheduled to begin on March 17, 2020 -- the day marking the 100th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation -- has the potential to truly transform the landscape of Bangladesh.
In recent years, Bangladesh has made tremendous strides in a number of areas, and massive infrastructural projects, like the metro rail project, are currently underway which promise to take our urban landscape to new heights, but the fact remains, much of this development has come at the cost of the environment.
This need not be the case: Countries like Singapore have shown us that it is possible to be an economic powerhouse while at the same time paying careful attention to the environment.
At the end of the day, economic success should contribute to the liveability of a nation, and in that regard, we have come up short, with our capital city in particular having a very bad reputation when it comes to factors like air quality.
Nevertheless, it is possible to turn things around, and planting saplings today so that we can have trees tomorrow shows the right kind of long-term vision.