Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked the authorities concerned to ensure developing at least one water body and taking other measures for the economic zones being developed across the country to protect the environment of the economic areas.
She asked the Ministry of Environment and Forests to strictly monitor the issues while developing the zones.
She was addressing a function at Krishibid Institution Bangladesh, marking ‘The National Tree Plantation Campaign and Tree Fair 2016’ and ‘World Environment Day and Environment Fair-2016’.
The government has planned to develop 100 economic zones across the country to facilitate investment and employment. Some of the zones remain at different stages of implementation.
Hasina highlighted the consequences of the adverse impact of greenhouse gas emission and directed all the ministries and departments to work with the Ministry of Environment and Forests in a coordinated manner.
She said the government has brought the environmental and ecological issues to the mainstream of development while allocating around Tk30 billion to deal with the climate-induced disasters instead of relying on others.
She said the government has introduced 3Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle – approach in developing industries as part of its effort to control environment pollution. The entrepreneurs will have to be more sincere and take initiative in waste management as the government has made mandatory establishment of ETP at all waste generating industries.
The Prime Minister called upon all to stop indiscriminate felling of trees, filling water bodies and cutting hills to protect the biodiversity and environment of the country.
She also reiterated the call upon every citizen to plant at least three saplings – one of timber, one of fruit and one of herbal – to protect the environment and ecology.
She emphasised on taking various programmes and projects considering the country’s huge population and its geographical location, and said environment and afforestation are interlinked. “So, the government has taken steps for the conservation of the existing forests and creating new forests under public and private sectors.”
She said the country’s forest areas have increased to 17% from 9% after the Awami League government assumed office in 2009 while it is working to further increase the forest coverage to 25%.
Referring to the recent flood that hit different areas in northern Bangladesh, she urged all to come forward to help the flood victims.
Environment and Forests Minister Anwar Hossain Manju, Deputy Minister Abdullah Al Islam Jakob, Secretary Dr Kamal Uddin Ahmed, Director General of the Department of Environment Md Raisul Alam Mondal and Chief Conservator of Forests Md Yunus Ali also spoke at the programme.
At the function, Hasina handed over Prime Minister’s National Award-2015 for tree plantation and Bangabandhu Award for Wildlife Conservation-2016 to individuals, educational institutions, local government bodies, government departments and NGOs in various categories.