The Government Initiatives to Address Environmental Protection and Development
Bangladesh has limitations in resources and capacities in terms of technology or money to confront massive environmental disasters. Therefore, the Government of Bangladesh has been working relentlessly to develop and conserve environment to prevent major environmental disasters. Set out below are the initiatives taken by the government to address environmental problems:
Preparation of National Land Policy
The optimum use of land and water depends on planned use of land, water resources and natural environment which are the important sources of the growth. It is possible to ensure optimum use of scarce land resources by way of integrating the uses of these three natural resources. With this end in view, the Government has approved ‘National Land Use Policy, Bangladesh’ in June 2001. The Government has adopted various other national policies and measures to prevent land depletion. Notable among them include ‘The National Environment Policy’, ‘National Environment Act and Rules’, ‘National Forestry Policy’ and ‘The National Plan for Agricultural Research’.
National Water Policy
Water resource is of immense importance for socio economic development of the nation. Bangladesh is endowed with a good number of water bodies scattered all over the country. WARPO maintains a National Water Resources Database (NWRD) established at WARPO under NWMP project that preserve and disseminate information/data of country’s water sector including information/data of other related sectors. There are analytical tools analyzing information. Different organizations use data of NWRD in their planning and research works. Updating and upgrading of NWRD will be done under Water Management Improvement Project (WMIP) to be implemented by December 2014. A 5- tier web-enabling database has been created for coastal zones. 5 layers of ICRD include Presentation, application server, data server, web server and spatial data engine.
Air Pollution Control
There exists a regulatory framework to combat air pollution in the country. The Department of Environment is implementing a number of projects to control air pollution. A ban was imposed on the plying of two stroke three-wheelers in Dhaka city since 1 January 2003. Instead, environment friendly 4-stock three-wheeler was introduced. Initiatives are being undertaken to promote CNG in petrol driven cars.
Control of Pollution from Brick Kilns
To contain air pollution, environment-friendly ‘Block Bricks’ are encouraged instead of traditional bricks. Attempts have been made for demonstration and publicity of environment-friendly brick burning technologies under the project ‘Clean Air Sustainable Environment (CASE)’ being implemented by the Department of Environment. A Draft Brickfield Policy has been formulated keeping in view the effective implementation of the Brick-burning Act 1989 (Amended in 1992 and 2001) and conservation of the environment simultaneously to meet the demand of bricks in the country. Besides, steps are also underway towards implementing the decision to ban conventional brickfields by 2010. To implement Brick Burning Control Act 1989, Brick Burning (Control) Rules 2004 have been framed.
Conservation of Ecology
Considering the importance of hills in protecting ecology of the country, the Government issued a notification in March 2002 banning hill razing. Awareness about the importance of hills in protection of ecology is increasing and the illegal attempts of cutting/razing of hills are on the decline.
Control of Industrial Pollution
In compliance with the Environment Conservation Act, 1995 and the Environment Conservation Rule, 1997, the mechanism for issuance of environmental clearance certificate has been introduced for the new industries or projects after assessing project area and pollutants to be emitted or discharged by the industries or projects to be set up. For the highly polluting industries, environmental clearance is given after setting up effluent treatment plant. Steps have been taken to set up effluent treatment plants for the existing industries with the support of chamber and the concerned sector-associations.
Control of Noise Pollution
As per the provision of the existing Environment Conservation Act 1995 which has set limit on noise pollution, the Government has formulated the Noise Pollution Control Rules 2006. Under these rules, it will be easier for the Government to control noise pollution particularly the use of mike and loud speakers. The Ministry of Environment and Forest has set a target of reducing the noise pollution level of Dhaka City of 45-55 decibel form 90-110 decibel by 2009-10 FY. Recently Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has prohibited the use of horns on several city streets to check sound pollution.
Conservation of Biodiversity
Bangladesh signed the Biodiversity Convention at Rio in 1992. There is a focus on biodiversity in the forest and environment policy. Under the Bangladesh Wildlife Preservation Act, 1974 (amendment Act 1994), three categories of protected areas have been identified as national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. With an aim to conserve the biodiversity, conserve and develop natural environment and eco-tourism (environment friendly tourism) and to facilitate research, the Government has declared 19 protected areas in different parts of the country. In addition, considering the importance of protecting bio diversity of the world, UNESCO has declared the Sundarbans, the single largest mangrove forest of Bangladesh, as World Heritage Site on 6 December 1997.
The U.K. Bangladesh Climate Change Conference
Bangladesh Facing the Challenge held in London 10 September 2008 has decided to establish a Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF). The Multi-Donor Trust Fund received a commitment of US$ 97.9 million from the Governments of UK and Denmark. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) proposed to provide Tk. 490 crore as budget support during the next three years, to cope with the environment related disasters.
Protection of Ozone Layer
Bangladesh has achieved remarkable success in protecting ozone layer. By now, Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) has been phased out from aerosol sector in Bangladesh. As a result, 60 percent use of ODS has been reduced in the country. Besides, in the refrigeration sector, industry-owners and technicians have been provided with necessary equipment and machineries. As many as 2000 technicians have trained on recovery and recycling toward checking unnecessary emission of clorofloro-carbon ( CFCs). Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation) Rules, 2004 has been framed under which import and use of ODSs are being controlled through licensing systems. A plan has been undertaken toward 100percent reduction of CFC-use in the form of CFC-11/12 in Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Sector by 01 January, 2010 through the implementation of plan titled “National Phase-out Plan”. Necessary equipment and training have been provided to the sector.
Development of the National Bio-safety Framework
The Department of Environment is implementing development of the national bio-safety framework project with the financial assistance from Global Environment Facility (GEF). The Government has taken an initiative to produce energy and fertilizer from waste. With the support from JICA, Dhaka City Corporation has undertaken a 20- year master plan for waste management. Technical assistance has been provided to DCC for taking CDM projects. With the financial assistance from UNCRD, the Department of Environment is implementing a project titled “National Strategy on Waste Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”. Preparation of 3R strategy is in progress.
Natural Disaster Management
Various government and non-government organizations are working in the field of disaster management and mitigation. The focal point for disaster management is the Disaster Management Bureau under the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management. Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) is responsible for forecasting natural disasters, like cyclones, droughts storms and such other disasters. Bangladesh Space Research and Remote Sensing Organization (SPARRSO) is responsible for providing satellite images while the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre (FFWC) of Bangladesh Water Development Board is entrusted with the responsibility of forecasting flood.
The Department of Forest
The Forest Department plays an important role in the development of physical, socio-economic development, maintenance of environmental balance and sustainable land based production system. The forest management system of Bangladesh is an age-old system. At the beginning, the main task of the forest department was to protect the forest and to ensure sustained yield management. The present Government has taken up a plan to bring 20 percent of our land under a forestation programmes by 2015 to attain self-sufficiency in forest resources and maintain ecological balance.
Bangladesh National Herbarium (BNH)
Bangladesh National Herbarium is a national research organization meant for conducting botanical survey. One of the main objectives of National Herbarium is to identify, collect and preserve all plant species including those that are part of national tradition and culture.
Bangladesh Forest Research Institute (BFRI)
BFRI is the only national forest research organization in the country. The main objective of BFRI is to augment and preserve forest resources through scientific and innovative use of new technologies for environmental development. The objectives also include poverty reduction and employment generation.
Bangladesh Forest Industries Development Corporation (BFIDC)
The main objectives of BFIDC include extraction of forest produces (timber) from the forests of the country, establishment of timber based industries, rubber plantation, productions, processing and marketing, best utilization of forest resources and processing of the extracted timber. The activities of BFIDC are divided into two sectors, (a) Industrial sector and (b) Agriculture sector.
NGO Activities for Conservation of Environment
In alliance with the Government, a good number of NGOs have been working to address environmental problems and to improve environmental system of the country since 1980s. These are International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Centre for Sustainable Development (CSD), Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS), Environmental Conservation Management Centre, Waste Concern, Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (BAPA) and Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers' Association (BELA) etc.