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Dhaka Tribune

ED: Development need not harm the environment

Countries like Singapore have long known that doing big business and building infrastructure can go hand in hand with taking care of the environment

Update : 14 Sep 2021, 12:02 AM

Right now, infrastructural projects are the talk of the town. A number of mega-projects are underway, and even more are in the planning stage. From the Padma Bridge to the Metro Rail projects to the various power plants in the pipeline, massive undertakings from the government are changing the face of our country, and our economy is taking a bold step forward. Developing at a breakneck pace, however, can come at a substantial environmental cost. 

It is good to see that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has addressed this matter. At the inauguration for multiple power plants at a videoconference, she said: “We must focus on the environment while taking any project; we always should take protective measures before taking any step.” 

These words should be heeded by all those involved in the big decisions regarding not only the five plants being inaugurated, but for all sizeable projects that could adversely affect the environment. In fact, ecological considerations should be at the top of the list of things to consider -- the environment should not be an afterthought.

As a nation with deep levels of poverty, it is understandable that for the longest time, our priority has been pure economic growth. But we must understand that development is a much more complex concept than simply GDP numbers, we must truly lift up the standards of living for people. 

The quality of the air we breathe, and food we eat, the water we drink, and the amount of greenery around us, all contribute to our standard of living, in ways that are not always reflected in the numbers in our account books. Countries like Singapore have long known that doing big business and building infrastructure can go hand in hand with taking care of the environment. Let us take a lesson from their models. 

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