Bangladesh State of the Environment Report : The Monthly Overview, September 2013

Brick makers in Bangladesh using conventional methods blamed for polluting the air, now seek two more years to be ready for conversion into environment-friendly technologies though they have already enjoyed around three years for this. Read more in this first-ever most comprehensive Monthly Bangladesh State of the Environment Report published by the South Asia Environment Portal.  September 2013 Edition is out! Download, Read and Share. Happy reading! 
 
ENVIRONMENT
 
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited in Bangladesh and The Daily Star launched the fourth edition of 'HSBC - The Daily Star Climate Awards'. The programme aims to recognise and encourage individuals and organisations who are actively working towards preserving environment and tackling the risk of climate change through their green business, environment-friendly operations, community investment, or/and knowledge management. 
 
LAND, AGRICULTURE, GRAZING LANDS AND ANIMAL CARE
 
The USAID signed an agreement with the BRAC Bank for providing $5 million (Tk 40 crore) loans to small and medium entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector in Bangladesh. BINADhan-7, a paddy variety innovated by Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA), has gained popularity among farmers in the region including its vast barind tract for the last couple of years. Cultivation of stress tolerant paddies has become popular among farmers in Bangladesh after repeated successes achieved in recent years. Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI), has appealed to the government for approval to give the seeds of four Bt brinjal varieties to farmers. The research organisation developed the seeds by injecting Bt gene into nine indigenous brinjal varieties, BARI sources said. Six day after a High Court bench allowed the Bangladesh government to release the genetically modified (GM) Bt Brinjal, another bench barred it until an independent research, based on Codex Alimentarius Commission’s (CAC) standards, is conducted. Massive pest attack has been threatening Aman cultivation at Kaunia upazila in Rangpur district of Bangladesh, causing grave concern among the farmers about the yield of the paddy during the current season. 
 
DAMS
 
A parliamentary standing committee recommended the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) for immediate implementation of the Save Buriganga project which was initiated in 2011. Punatsangchhu hydroelectric project authority (PHPA-I) officials in Bhutan, assured that the remedial measures being proposed and adopted to cure the sliding area at the dam site would provide a lasting solution and ensure dam stability for its entire life. 
 
FORESTS
 
Tree plantation drives take place every year as a matter of routine to increase the cover of forest land, in addition to developing an awareness for social plantation  all over Bangladesh. With a view to keeping environment evergreen and pollution free, Bangladesh's leading business conglomerate Bashundhara Group has launched afforestation programme in Bancharampur Upazila of Brahmanbaria district. 
 
POLLUTION
 
Brick makers in Bangladesh using conventional methods blamed for polluting air now seek two more years to be ready for conversion into environment-friendly technologies though they have already enjoyed around three years for this. The High Court directed the Bangladesh government to provide last 18-years' data on compliance with establishment of effluent treatment plants (ETP) by industries in Dhaka, Gazipur, Savar and Tangail since 1996. Experts blamed the Bangladesh government agencies for influencing water governance, which in turn in adding to water pollution and illegal encroachment of water bodies. The workshop jointly organised by New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) and Bangladesh Institute of Planners (BIP)   titled 'Challenges of tackling river pollution, ensuring water quality monitoring and better sewerage management in India and Bangladesh, dealt with various practical and policy issues affecting management of water bodies. The Department of Environment (DoE) in Bangladesh fined a washing and dying factory in Narayanganj Tk 11 lakh for polluting the water of the Dhaleshwari River. The Department of Environment (DoE) in Bangladesh fined a garment factory in Gazipur Tk 26 lakh for polluting the environment. 
 
FLOODS, DROUGHTS AND NATURAL DISASTERS
 
Flood situation in two north-western districts of Rajshahi and Lalmonirhat in Bangladesh  worsened as the water levels of the mighty rivers Padma and Dharla continued to rise. Padma erosion  has  taken serious turn and it has already devoured 2,023 houses including educational institutions in Chapainawabganj Sadar and Shibganj upazilas in Bangladesh. 
 
HABITAT
 
Bangladesh prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, stressed the need for constructing buildings suitable for weather and environment by maintaining the building code. A total of 3,200 slum families in Rajshahi city of Bangladesh are getting housing materials valued at around Taka 3.20 crore at free of cost for the first time in the metropolis. 
 
WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION
 
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the 'Dhaka Environmentally Sustainable Water Supply Project' costing Tk 5,248 crore to increase the supply of purified water to the city dwellers to meet the growing demand. The Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority is planning to initiate Saidabad Water Treatment Plant Phase III in a bid to reduce dependency on ground water. Dhaka WASA (Water Supply and Sewerage Authority) signed two deals with five NGOs with a view to providing water to Low Income Community of Sattola slum of Mohakhali and the Korail slum of Banani in the capital. Hundreds of tonnes of solid wastes lie scattered and uncollected on the roads and lanes of the capital in Bangladesh every day, hindering pedestrians’ movement and causing health hazards and environment pollution. 
 
HEALTH AND OCCUPATIONAL HAZARDS
 
Bangladesh has achieved its Millennium Development Goal on malaria much ahead of projected deadline, despite the fact that more than 15 million people are still at risk of contacting the disease. The number of Tuberculosis infected children has risen alarmingly in the Southern district of Bagerhat in Bangladesh, last year posing a serious threat to the public health in the area as a whole. Adding to the list of progress in Bangladesh, it has brought down child mortality rate by 72 % in the last two decades. According to a report jointly released by Unicef, WHO, the World Bank and the United Nations Population Division, the rate of child mortality is 347 per day while it was 1,454 in 1990. Bangladesh has reached one of her millennium goals by reducing the number of under-five deaths. Rangpur City Corporation (RCC) in Bangladesh launches a new health service programme under Urban Primary Health Care Services Delivery Project (UPHCSDP) in the city from October with the main objective of reducing maternal and child death rates. The Cabinet in Bangladesh approved the draft of the Food Safety Bill, 2013 keeping provision of maximum five years imprisonment or Tk 500,000 fine for adulteration of food. 
 
HAZARDOUS PRODUCTS
 
The Bangladesh Ship Breakers Association (BSBA) and the Association of Bankers Bangladesh (ABB) signed a joint statement expressing their commitment to improve environmental and social standards in the ship recycling industry in Bangladesh. 
Beyond committing to work together towards improving standards and practices in Bangladesh, the BSBA and ABB have also outlined several areas within which to begin addressing the current challenges, including improving methods for hazardous waste disposal and building industry capacity to make the necessary improvements in environmental and social standards.
 
ENERGY
 
The district unit of Samajtantrik Chhatra Front (SCF) formed a human chain in the town on Tuesday demanding cancellation of the move to construct a coal-based thermal power plant in Rampal upazila of Bagerhat, near the Sundarbans in Bangladesh. People in their hundreds joined a long march to stop the Rampal coal-based power plant project immediately to save the world’s largest mangrove forest Sundarban from destruction. The Bangladesh government has sought more support from the World Bank to achieve its targeted energy efficiency by increasing power and gas output and distribution. The Cabinet Purchase Committee in Bangladesh approved a procurement proposal of $ 265 million for the proposed 2000 MW Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant project. The Bangladesh government has finally outlined a fund requirement worth US$2.76 billion for implementing its 500MW solar power programme by 2017. 
 
LIVING RESOURCES
 
The government of Bangladesh, along with Nepal and Bhutan, has joined the “Strengthening Regional Cooperation in Wildlife Protection in Asia” project to conserve wildlife and check illegal wildlife trade.
 

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