By Nazmus Sadat
May 12, 2015
Sustainability in Bangladesh : Call for an emergency wave
According to 2014 Environmental Performance Index data Bangladesh ranks among 178 countries are 169th in environmental friendly countries, 88th in having enough forests, 123rd in biodiversity and it is the most air polluted country having least water resource energy among 178 countries in the world. Experts have been alerting us for almost a decade that Dhaka may face the scarcity of ground water in near future. Around also 85% of the total area of Bangladesh has contaminated groundwater. In other words, over 1.2 million citizens of this nation are exposed to the hazardous effects of arsenic-contaminated water scarcity. In the meantime, according to a research in 2009, GHG emission potential from Urban Organic Waste of Bangladesh is 2 .19 million ton CO2e / year. Ship yards near sea beaches are also posing a great threat to our environmental sustainability. These are few facts on present condition of our environment and country. How could you be inert to facts like them? Don’t they cause trembling in you?
Whatever your answer is, everyone can’t sit back by knowing and experiencing such situations. Active Citizens have come forward to address the situation properly to ensure better future of Bangladesh as well as of the world. In response to the question “how we can mitigate or remove these crises”, I can remind you, experts have been working for decades as well as raising voices to take initiative to ensure sustainability in every sectors, from tee stall to corporate house, scrap collectors to ship breaking yards, small factories to big industries and personal life to household management.
The word “Sustainability” is an ecological term which describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive. Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems. In general, it is the endurance of systems and processes. Organizing principles for sustainability is sustainable development which includes the four interconnected domains, ecology, economics, politics and culture. In one sentence, Sustainability is broadly defined as meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Everyone, as the part of whole system of living, has the responsibility to do his part to ensure greater sustainable system we individually belong to. No one could be spared of this duty if s/he really cares for him/her and others around him.
Already said, sustainability doesn’t only ensure the environmental security and the social harmony, it also ensure the growth of national economy in amazing extent. For example, we can look at recycling and repurposing sectors. According to Waste Concern’s research in 2009, Dhaka city produces 4634.52tons solid wastes per day, 15% of it was being recycled at that time, which is supposed to be increased by now. Through recycling only 15% of Dhaka City’s solid waste, we could save 170 million U$ per year. I am leaving the calculation for solid wastes from all over the country and 100% recycling on you. Don’t forget that the statistics was of 2009, at least you can make projection to 2015. Can you imagine, how amazing the economic aspects it has? As for lead acid battery recycling, according to another research of same Waste Concern in 2009, 6000tons lead was being recovered per year which would save 4.73 million U$ per year and it also created 6000 jobs at that time in the country. We already know that wastes are great sources of different kinds of renewable energy. If we do not manage them properly and send them for recycling we will have to experience bad odors, pollution of ground and sound water and more than 40 diseases it spreads in Bangladesh. So we need to know what are the roles everyone can play from his/her positions, how to do and how to do as well.
In recent workshop of Sustainable Bangladesh, a sustainability research and solution development hub, it has congregated students from different universities of the country at FREFD Bhaban to let them know few crucial facts on present environmental crises of the country and the world as well. The workshop on “Sustainable Bangladesh: Challenges, Prospects and Future” covered almost all the aspects of environmental crises and necessities of sustainability in everywhere of our living. Speakers inspired students to buy local natural foods, to cultivate a backyard kitchen garden, to make nutrient-rich soil by composting waste, to harvest rainwater, to share rides with others, to use public transit, to walk more, to bicycle more, to use natural lighting and energy-efficient bulbs, to shade buildings with trees and shrubs, to recycle solid waste material locally for future uses, to dry clothes in sun and so on.
Former Secretary of Environment and Forest Ministry of Bangladesh Government Dr. Mahfuzul Haque talked to potential students about Sustainable Development of Bangladesh and crises he observed while working for environmental development in last few decades.
Sustainable Bangladesh will be working for ensuring sustainability in every sectors of Bangladesh. Through, research, green solution design and campaigns by students, it will be raising awareness across the country and contributing solutions to present crises of Bangladesh. All we need now is paying attention to solve crises as soon as possible if we really want our and our next generation’s healthy living in the world.
The author is Founder of Sustainable Bangladesh and studies at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). He can be reached at Nazmus_sadat99@yahoo.com