Sustainable development cannot come at the cost of destroying our environment
Dhaka has ranked consistently as one of the most polluted cities in the world, with its air classified as being “unhealthy.”
It should come as no surprise that amongst the top 10 causes of death in the country, five of them are lung cancer, lower respiratory tract infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, ischemic heart disease, and stroke, all of which are related to air pollution.
Despite this, governmental policies and behaviour are yet to reflect the seriousness with which such a state of affairs should be handled.
This is why the latest draft of the Clean Air Act 2019, which proposes taking a hardline stance against air pollution, is something the entire nation should get behind.
We can no longer afford to have the very environment we live in be tainted by the negligent behaviours related to infrastructural improvement, no matter how important they might be to development.
What is encouraging about the newest bill draft is that it holds governmental entities responsible if they fail to adhere to its standards — and practices which harm the environment will be punished.
The fact that brick kilns contribute to 58% of air pollution in Dhaka and that they continue to function as they always have with complete disregard for the environment and the health of the people of this country speaks to the growing need of the hour: To rein in polluters and look for alternative and greener methods of production.
Bangladesh has come a long way, but sustainable development cannot come at the cost of destroying our environment beyond repair.
What use is progress when much of the country lies gasping for air?