department of environment
Bangladesh's Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury on Saturday (February 24, 2024) said that the government would introduce incentive packages to promote the production of environmentally-friendly block bricks. Saber came up with the announcement during a media interaction following a meeting with officials from the Forest Department and the Department of Environment at Feni Circuit House on Saturday. Brick kiln owners can be benefited from these incentives as part of the government's efforts to transition away from air-polluting and land-damaging brick kilns, he said, emphasising the need for the designation of specific areas for waste recycling by municipalities. The minister urged officials to take proactive measures to combat environmental pollution, including the prohibition of polythene use. Read more: Govt working to promote climate-resilient crops: Saber Hossain He stressed prompt actions in cases where environmental clearance is lacking and urged against delays in issuing such clearances. Moreover, Minister Saber underscored the need for the daily clearance of medical and municipal waste and instructed divisional forest officials to reclaim encroached forest land and initiate afforestation projects in urban and coastal regions. Chaired by Feni District Magistrate Shahina Akter, various officials including BRTA Chairman Nur Mohammad, Additional Superintendent of Police Din Mohammad, Additional District Magistrate Abishek Das, Divisional Forest Officer Ruhul Amin, and Feni Department of Environment Deputy Director Showkat Ara Kali, among others were present on the occasion. Following the meeting, Feni Awami League General Secretary and local MP Nizam Uddin Hazari and Feni sadar municipality Mayor Nazrul Islam Swapon Miaji exchanged greetings with the environment minister with floral tributes. Read more: Is There Any Alternative to Brick Kilns?
In an exclusive and wide-ranging interview with UNB, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury (SHC) shares insights on the priorities and challenges with which he steps into his new role. The interview took place in the minister’s office at the Secretariat earlier this week: UNB: What do you see as challenges facing the ministry? SHC: I think coordinating with all the ministries to protect the environment, or to control water, air and noise pollution, is the biggest challenge. Because, the Department of Environment only sets the standards. As a ministry, we identify problems. But enforcement is not solely our responsibility. Various ministries and departments of the government need to work collaboratively on this matter. When it comes to dealing with climate change, many other departments of the government, and a number of ministries such as food, water resources, commerce, local government, industry, are involved. So the government has to take that overall responsibility. We work on the coordination efforts. UNB: What will be your first priority? SHC: First of all, we are emphasising on identifying how much capacity we have to work on the issues. Does the ministry and agencies under it have the requisite capacity for certain tasks? The name of our ministry is the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. Biodiversity is a big issue that needs focus, but it's not in the ministry structure. Therefore, the capacity of the ministry is important to identify. UNB: Bangladesh is one of the most affected countries due to climate change. What plans do you have in this field? SHC: Climate change is one of the three issues of the ministry. It's global, we have no hand in it. But we are the most affected. Our strategy is to do as much as we can to reduce the effects of climate change and stand on the side of people. Although we do not have control over carbon emissions, we are not getting the amount of money we are supposed to get. Developed countries or donors do not keep the promises they made in terms of funding. Proper use of the limited money given to them has to be ensured. We have to implement the action plans that we have in the field of climate change with transparency and cost-effectiveness. Though Bangladesh is not responsible for climate change, it is one of the worst sufferers of the adverse impacts of climate change. We will work to build global public opinion against climate change. True sustainable development is not possible without the development of the environment. Therefore, the policies and ideals of Bangladesh will have to be implemented to protect the environment. Despite various global economic and environmental problems, we will work under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to provide a livable environment and a better life to the people of Bangladesh. Read more: Macron says France will sign agreement with Bangladesh to finance climate-change adaptation, loss and damage in first half of 2024 UNB: What plans do you have to protect the environment? SHC: We're facing a lot of challenges in the environment. Every year many people die prematurely due to air pollution. Years are being lost from our lives, productivity is being destroyed. There is nothing new to say about it. So when we talk about sustainable development, the issue of the environment comes into the mainstream. River pollution is a major challenge. Hills are being destroyed. How do we take effective action there? Everyone says it has to stop. But how? ETP plans have been installed in various places. In reality, we have seen that in many cases ETP plans are not maintained. It is launched just before the inspector’s visit. And even if they find violations, the penalty is not punitive enough. It needs to be updated. I will say though, that the environment and forests are completely under our control. We can't blame anyone else for that. If there is any pollution in these two cases, we are solely responsible for it. Deforestation occurs on a greater scale in Bangladesh than in the rest of the world. So one of the focus points is the conservation of the forest. Another is the restoration of encroached forests. If the forested area can be expanded, that's also a big deal. The forest is not just a tree, it is also about biodiversity. The whole ecosystem is related. While doing development work, many people say that if 5,000 trees are cut, we will plant 50,000 trees. But that can never actually compensate for what is lost. Because it's not just a tree, it's biodiversity. UNB: How do you plan to ensure proper use and transparency of climate funds? SHC: We will ensure that the allocated money actually reaches the affected people. Maximum efforts will be made to bring allocation from the International Loss and Damage Fund at the earliest, followed by its maximum utilisation, and we will ensure transparency in the use of climate fund money. UNB: Brick kilns are responsible for the majority of air pollution in the capital, which regularly features near the top of the world’s most polluted cities. Do you have any specific plan to address this, as well as the damage they cause to the environment? SHC: Effective measures will be taken against air pollution to protect public health. To this end, legal action will be taken against the air polluting brick kilns. Work will be done in coordination with the concerned ministries and agencies to control air pollution in Dhaka city. Other factors responsible for air pollution will also be controlled on a scientific basis. ‘Brick Kiln Tracker’ will be used to help identify environmental pollutants and illegal brick kilns and take appropriate legal actions against them. As a result, it will be easy to stop illegal activities by identifying the harmful brick kilns on priority basis. As a result, it will be possible to reduce air pollution caused by brick kilns. The Department of Environment and National University of Singapore (NUS) have jointly developed the Brick Kiln Tracker based on IT and remote sensing technology. With the help of this latest technology using Artificial Intelligence, the monitoring and enforcement activities of the Department of Environment will be strengthened and successful. UNB: What initiatives will you take to ease the process of obtaining environmental clearance, that has become a cumbersome process for citizens? SHC: All necessary initiatives will be taken so that people can get services in time. We plan to simplify the process of obtaining environmental clearance certificates to reduce public suffering. At the same time no irregularities will be tolerated in the issuance of clearance. UNB: What can we expect in the upcoming 100-day work plan? SHC: The 100-day action plan will be announced next week. A 100-day work plan will be implemented incorporating various priority activities of the ministry. In particular, necessary steps will be taken to solve the problems of air pollution, noise pollution, water pollution, plastic-polythene pollution and hill cutting. Bangladesh Awami League's election manifesto and Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan will be implemented on priority basis. The law will be properly implemented for sustainable development and prevention of forest encroachment. International funding will be attempted. We will work to take the Ministry of Environment, Forest, Climate Change to number 1 (among all the ministries) in terms of performance. Transparency and accountability will be established in the activities of the ministry. Besides, active participation of the concerned ministries and departments is needed to prevent environmental pollution, so we will work in coordination with other ministries. Read more: Hasina’s return to power will be welcomed in Global South: Policy analyst Kugelman
Environment Minister Md Shahab Uddin has ordered the director general of the Department of Environment (DoE) and others concerned to conduct special drives from Wednesday to reduce air pollution. Three executive magistrates of the DoE will conduct the drives against air-polluting companies and vehicles, he said at the Annual Development Program (ADP) meeting held at the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on Tuesday. To increase the number and extent of drives, a request would be sent to Ministry of Public Administration and Public Security Division for appointing more executive magistrate and law enforcement personnel, he said. The minister also said inter-ministerial meetings should be held to coordinate with other relevant ministries to take and implement decisions. Read more: Around 60 percent brick kilns are operating illegally: Minister “I will participate in campaigns if necessary to create awareness about air and noise pollution,” he said. He also instructed the project directors concerned to take effective measures to stop use of hydraulic horns and noise pollution.
The High Court on Tuesday wanted to know the steps taken to prevent air pollution in Dhaka and asked the authorities concerned including the Department of Environment to inform about it on February 5. The HC bench of Justice KM Kamrul Kader and Justice Mohammad Ali passed the order after hearing a petition seeking implementation of the court orders in this regard. Senior lawyer Manzill Murshid stood for the petitioner while Amatul Karim and Syed Ahmed Raza represented the Department of Environment and Dhaka South City Corporation, respectively. Read more: Around 60 percent brick kilns are operating illegally: Minister The HC issued the nine-point directive on January 13, 2020 after hearing a writ petition filed by the Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB). Murshid filed a petition seeking implementation of the higher court’s nine-point directive on Monday. For the past several days, it has been reported that Dhaka has ranked the worst in the air quality index in the world, he said. In New Delhi, the government imposed an emergency situation when it experienced the worst air quality in the world but the authorities in Dhaka have no worries about it, he said. The nine-point directive of the High Court includes • Ensuring the use of covers on trucks or other vehicles that transport sand or soil in the capital, Dhaka. • Contractors should cover the construction sites • Taking steps to sprinkle water on Dhaka roads • Ensuring complete road construction or excavation work or carpeting complying with laws, rules and terms and conditions of the agreement. • To seize those vehicles involved in emitting black smoke. • To fix the economic life of vehicles plying on roads as per the Road Transport Act 2018 and to impose ban on movement of unfit vehicles. • To shut down the illegal brick fields which are operating without licence and submit a report within two months. • Stop burning of tyres and recycling of vehicles’ batteries without approval from the DoE. • Taking steps to ensure that all the market owners or shopkeepers keep their garbage in bags and the city corporations were asked to remove those after the shops or markets are closed. Read more: Remove illegal brick kilns in 4 districts: HC The HRPB filed a writ petition attaching a report published in different newspapers on January 21, 2019 on air pollution in Dhaka.
Plastic is choking Bangladesh's drains, canals, and rivers. Around 1,700 tonnes of plastic waste is produced in the country every day and only half of it is recycled, according to the Department of Environment. In Dhaka city alone, plastic waste has gone up more than 3.5 times from 178 tonnes per day in 2005 to 646 tonnes per day in 2020. Of that 646 tonnes, only 37 per cent is recycled, and mostly by the informal sector, according to the World Bank. It is almost impossible to imagine a day without any use of plastic. Clogged drains, bags fluttering in the wind, masses of plastic piled in dumps, and road corners have become an everyday reality in Bangladesh.
Walton is ahead of other private sector players in protecting the environment, speakers said this at a seminar in the capital Saturday. The Department of Environment and Walton Hi-Tech Industries Limited jointly organised the seminar to mark the "World Ozone Day," celebrated internationally on September 16 every year to raise awareness against ozone layer depletion and global warming. This year's theme for the international day was "Montreal Protocol – keeping us, our food, and vaccines cool." Read Walton Digital Campaign Season 14: Two more customers get Tk20 lakh rewards Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin attended the seminar as chief guest and Walton Hi-Tech Industries Chairman SM Nurul Alam Rezvi and Vice-Chairman SM Shamsul Alam as special guests. Speakers at the event said the ozone layer is a blessing for the world and animals. It is the filter of the earth. But the use of harmful chemicals and gases has been depleting the layer. The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was signed in 1987. Bangladesh is one of the signatories to the protocol. Read EPB assures Walton of support to boost electronics, electrical products exports Under the protocol, the country is working on controlling the use of about 100 ozone-depleting substances. Speaking as the chief guest, Shahab Uddin appreciated the various initiatives taken by Walton to protect the ozone layer. Deputy Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Begum Habibun Nahar said, "Walton is ahead of others in protecting the ozone layer and the environment." Read Walton brings Arc CPU liquid coolers Walton Hi-Tech Industries Chairman SM Nurul Alam Rezvi urged the government to make the star rating system mandatory for all locally produced as well as imported air conditioners to ensure an environment-friendly atmosphere through the use of energy-efficient products, according to a media statement.
Walton signed an agreement with the Department of Environment (DoE) Sunday at the event titled "HCFC Phase-Out Management Plan Stage II" project in the capital. DoE Director General Md Ashraf Uddin and Walton Hi-Tech Industries Managing Director Golam Murshed signed the deal. Read Walton launches 3 new desktop PC series Golam Murshed said, "We know that chlorofluorocarbon gas is harmful to the environment. Thanks to the DoE and the UNDP for taking the initiative to cut the use and emission of this gas. We will do our best to implement the HCFC phase-out project successfully." "Earlier, Walton implemented the world's first HFC phase-out project with the support of the DoE and the UNDP. Under this project, eco-friendly HC-600a (isobutene) refrigerant is being used instead of HFC-134a refrigerant in refrigerators and compressors. The successful implementation of the project has reduced the annual emissions of about 230 metric tonnes of HFC gas into the atmosphere," he added. Read Walton Plaza inks deal with Walcart To phase out the production of ozone-depleting substances in AC manufacturing, the DoE undertook the "HCFC Phase-Out Management Plan (HPMP) Stage-II" with support from the UNDP. Walton Hi-Tech Industries and five other enterprises took part in the two-year project to completely phase out the production of HCFC refrigerants. Read Walton TV gets good response in Romania Under the project, Walton will implement technology conversion of R-22 refrigerant to the environmentally friendly R-290 and R-32 refrigerants in its two production lines for ACs. The implementation of this new project will further reduce the emission of ozone-depleting potential substances by about 12.22 tonnes, according to a media statement. Read Walton Primo ZX4 Review with Price in Bangladesh
The Department of Environment (DoE) on Tuesday slapped a fine of Tk 2.10 crore on six factories for harming the environment in the city. As part of the drive against the environment pollution, DoE Director (Monitoring and Enforcement) Mohammad Masud Hasan Patwary slapped the penalty following hearings of the charges. READ: Aedes Larvae: Bombay Sweets among 23 buildings fined The highest fine of Tk 1,90,27,200 crore was slapped on Rafique Textile Dying and Printing Workshop, while Tk 17,63,200 on Maya Textile and Printing Industries, and Tk 1,43,770 on Pailuck Chemical Company. READ: Lockdown Day 3: Banks reopen, 587 arrested, Tk 12.7 lakh fined Besides, Mozammel Rubber was fined Tk 20,000, Yasin Furniture Tk 13,890 and Monir Furniture Tk 13,890, said a DoE release.
The Supreme Court's Appellate Division on Wednesday made the shutting down of all illegal brick kilns – running without a valid licence in Chattogram's Lohagara upazila – easier for the government.