e-News® | The NEWS Company…DHAKA, July 12, 2015 : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday urged each and every citizen of the country to come forward in protecting the environment and ecology for country’s sustainable ‘green growth’.
“We can bring drastic change in the country’s grimy environment and endangered ecology through pursuing ‘green growth’ if all of us become aware about protection of our mother Earth,” she said. The Prime Minister was addressing at a function marking the inauguration of the World Environment Day and Environment Fair 2015 and National Tree Plantation Campaign and Tree Fair 2015 at Krishibid Institution auditorium here today. “As much as we will take care of our mother nature, as much as it will create opportunity for us. So we have to be careful in use and conservation of the natural resources in our own interest,” Sheikh Hasina said adding “we have to do it thinking the future of our posterities.”
In this regard the Prime Minister reiterated her call to country’s each adult citizen to plant at least three saplings – one of woody, one of fruity and other of medicinal — saying that the government alone cannot handle the tough task of ecological balance, rather it is possible through joint initiatives. Minister for Environment and Forests Anwar Hossain Monju was in the chair while Deputy Minister Abdullah Al Islam Jakob, acting secretary of the ministry Dr Kamal Uddin Ahmed, Chief Conservator of Forest Yunus Ali, Director General of Department of Environment Raisul Alam Mondol also spoke on the occasion.
Earlier, the Prime Minister distributed Paribesh Padak 2015 to two individuals for their outstanding contribution to environment protection and pollution control. They are noted lawyer Manjil Morshed and founder of Pakriti O Jibon Foundation Abdul Mukit Majumder. The Prime Minister also distributed the Bangabandhu Award for Wildlife Conservation – 2015 and PM’s National Award – 2014 for plantation among individuals, educational institutions, local government bodies, government departments and NGOs in various categories.
Professor M Monirul Hasan of Jahangir Nagar University and elite force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Mohidur Rahman, director of a Naogaon based private organization- ‘Nishan’ and M Abdul Hamid, an individual of Putia, Rajshahi, received Bangabandhu Award for Wildlife Conservation this year creating awareness on forest and wildlife conservation. Sheikh Hasina also handed over cheques of the profits of the Social Afforestation to two beneficiaries of Naogaon and Gazipur. Later, the Prime Minister planted a ‘Hoimonti’ sapling at the premises of Krishibid Institution premises and inaugurated the Tree Fair 2015 at the ground adjacent to the Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC).
The Environment Day is being observed in the country this year along with the other member countries of the United Nations with the theme- “Seven Billion Dreams, One Planet, Consume With Care” (Shata Koti Janer Apar Swapna, Ekti Bishaw, Kori Na Niswa). While the National Tree Plantation Campaign-2015 is being observed with the theme “Pahar, Samatal, Upakuley, Gach Lagai Sobai Miley” (Hill, flat zone and coast, let’s together we plant tree”. Pointing out the aggravated situation of encroachment and pollution of the city’s two lakes in Gulshan and Dhanmondi, the Prime Minister said the size, width and depth of those lakes were made taking into account the probable water flow of the area.
“But illegal encroachment has reduced the area of the lakes significantly over the years. Many households linked the sewerage system of their building with the lakes,” she lamented, She urged the local people especially those of elite class living in those areas to give their special attention to the problem saying the government has undertaken a project for development of the lakes and improve the sewerage, waste management system and excavation of the canals near the Kuril flyover to deal with any possible flood. Sheikh Hasina said environment and afforestation are interlinked. For this reason, she said the government has taken steps for conservation of the existing forests and creating new forests under public and private sectors.
She said country’s forest areas have increased to 17 percent from 9 percent after the Awami League government assumed office in 2009. “The present government is working to further increase the forest coverage to 25 percent,” she added. The prime minister said the government has brought the environmental and ecological issues to the mainstream of development. That’s why all concerned laws, rules and regulations are being updated time to time alongside strengthening the monitoring and enforcement activities of the Department of Environment. Sheikh Hasina said the government has given importance on conservation of forests, forests management and increase the forests’ carbon storage capacity keeping pace with the developed countries. A national policy has been made in this regard and steps were taken for carbon sequestration of 15 forests including Sundarbans and wildlife conservation with the help of local people, she said.
The prime minister said the number of preserved forests areas in the country has been raised to 38 over the last six years aimed at carbon trading and introduction of the Payment of Ecosystem Services (PES) to make people financially solvent. Pointing out the Bangladesh’s role in global climate politics, Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is now regarded as the voice of the developing countries in the climate change negotiation meeting. “The voice of Bangladesh in various global forums on tackling the impacts of climate change including the Rio+20 was taken with importance,” she said. “Bangladesh is one of the worst victims of climate change despite its least contribution to the catastrophe,” she said adding Bangladesh is continuing its relentless efforts to deal with the adverse impacts of climate change. “Many developed countries and organizations had made many pledges and commitments of assistance for tackling the climate change impacts, but most of them except the EU did not come up to fulfill their commitments,” she noted.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina said instead of relying on others Bangladesh embarked upon its own resources allocating around Tk 2,900 crore for some 263 projects to cater to climate induced disasters. Sheikh Hasina said 3R (reduce, reuse and recycle) projects were taken in industries to control environment pollution. “Industry owners would be more sincere and take initiative in waste management as the government has made mandatory establishment of ETP at all waste generating industries,” she hoped. The Prime Minister also asked all entrepreneurs to conduct environmental audit and thus inform the Department of Environment on regular basis since it is considered as a very important measure in protecting environment. Referring to the gaining of some 1,18,813 square kilometers of maritime areas in the Bay of Bengal the prime minister said her government has already taken steps to utilize these vast marine resources to ensure further socio-economic development of the country.