Progress causing ecological degradation
Bangladesh's socio-economic progress can be a riveting case study. The country, practically struggled to feed its people much of the 70s and 80s. It is now a nation which has bumper food production plus economic prosperity impacting all spheres of society. While there is a sense of fulfilment and pride in having a well off middle class section, expanding daily, the environmental cost of advancement is often overlooked.
With the government observing World Environment Day on 5 June, safeguarding environment becomes all the more important. The ravaging of nature to make way for new towns and to expand old ones has been relentless in the last two decades. This has given us mighty metropolitan centres with striking buildings but devastated natural greenery while shrinking our forest reserves.
At the same time, usage of too much chemicals in food production has made our produce poisonous. Every day, a variety of harmful chemicals that are used during production of vegetables, fruits and other items enter our bodies. The environmental issue is often lost in our frenzy to become more developed. Consequences are beginning to shown in extreme weather patterns, including long spells of extreme torrid weather, mild or bitterly cold winters and intense rainfall beyond the monsoon season.
The damage has been widespread though a few major steps can counter much of the devastation. To start, the rivers need to be free of pollution with strict laws enforced to prevent effluent from falling into rivers. Much of the ecological degradation is caused by people who are patronised directly or indirectly by politically linked people.
In face of political power, all efforts seem to become ineffectual and for this, a strict order has to come from the top authority so the administration and law can act without any hindrance and fear of reprisal.
The nexus between unscrupulous sections and administration is another hurdle which can be uprooted once an unequivocal command comes from the highest authority. In addition, the notion of progress blended with ecological preservation has to be proliferated in schools and colleges so students can play a role in making the cities greener. Green building systems, eco-friendly construction, apartment blocks with greenery on the roof and general community based tree planting are ways to make our living greener. In this regard, the effort needs to begin from upazila levels and go up to city wards. Technical, mechanical and economic progresses are desired but certainly not at the cost of ecological devastation which lashes out to make the people afflicted and diseased. A safe city, green living drive is needed immediately.