The time to act is now
It is greatly acknowledged that climate change is one of the biggest challenges the world faces today. The global temperature is rising, and the ice caps are melting. The ice caps are now 40% thinner than they were 40 years ago.
As a consequence, we encounter natural disasters like floods, cyclones, and land erosion every year. This is happening because of human behaviour; and now, it’s time for payback.
Around 20% of the world’s population consumes 80% of its resources. The world spends 12 times more on military expenditures than on aid to developing countries. 5,000 people die every day because of dirty and unhygienic drinking water with a billion people having no access to safe drinking water around the world.
14 billion pounds of garbage, mostly plastic, are dumped into the ocean every year.
Over 30 billion tons of urban sewage are discharged into lakes, rivers, and oceans each year.
Two million tons of human waste are disposed of in water every day. On an average, 250 million people worldwide succumb to diseases related to water pollution.
According to UNICEF, more than 3,000 children die every day globally due to consumption of contaminated drinking water. 40% of arable land has suffered long-term damage.
Every year, 13 million hectares of forest disappear. Three-quarters of all fishing grounds are exhausted, depleted, or in dangerous decline. It is estimated that there may be at least 200 million climate refugees by 2050.
Deforestation is another eminent reason for climate change, accelerating greenhouse gas emissions. It is quite worrisome that a lot of illegal brick-kilns are mushrooming all over the country.
This has degraded the topography of the surrounding environment, destroying hectare after hectare of fertile topsoil and causing numerous diseases.
Bangladesh is mostly self-sufficient when it comes to food. However, in the near future, it could be threatened by the way we have been exploiting our environment by operating unregulated brick-kilns and building unplanned homesteads on arable land.
It should be clearly understood that the government is not solely responsible to tackle climate change. Regardless of any positions or levels, everybody has the responsibility to protect the environment.
The Bangladesh government is paying attention to sustainable development, but climate change is threatening the way forward.
However, there are many factors that may impede the victory against climate change, such as a lack of implementation and limited stakeholder participation. Unfortunately, Bangladesh is still not in a position to design proper planning to handle environmental issues.
Therefore, in order to protect our environment, it is high time that we wake up and take the necessary steps to save our lives and the lives of our future generations. It is hoped that this article will motivate and increase public awareness and promote environmentally-friendly behaviour at all levels.
Muhammad Mehedi Masud is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Development Studies, Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya, Malaysia.