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1:14 am | April 25, 2024
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Only the proper enforcement of laws can protect the environment of Bangladesh
Aivee Akther Environmental crime

Only the proper enforcement of laws can protect the environment of Bangladesh

Only the proper enforcement of laws can protect the environment of Bangladesh


It is very challenging to ensure the protection of the natural environment in a populous country. However, sincere efforts can prevent the rapid and widespread degradation of the environment to some extent.

Although Bangladesh is densely populated, we are still far behind many countries in terms of industrialization.

That is why the level of environmental pollution from industrial waste should be less in our country. But in reality, the level of environmental pollution due to the industry is now low at all.

According to an index done by Columbia University in the United States, Bangladesh ranked 162 among 180 countries in terms of environmental expertise. That means, in this case, we remained in the ranks of the most backward countries.

This is of particular concern, as the size of our country is small; the population is much larger than that. suppose a country with such a high population density does not specialize in protecting the natural environment.

In that fact, there is a danger that the overall quality of life, including the people’s health, will gradually decline.

It is not like that; we lack awareness about environmental protection at the state and government policy-making level. We enacted laws to protect the environment at least two decades ago. The ‘Environment Protection Act’ law passed in 1995 is good enough.

We also have three separate courts to conduct trials for environmental crimes. But due to inadequate implementation of this law, the offenses related to environmental pollution are not getting proper importance.

People who are responsible for environmental pollution are unaware of the existing “Environment protection act.” They didn’t realize that all the heinous work they are doing against the environment is punishable.

Or even if they consider their work a crime, they remain relaxed, thinking that it would be possible to avoid the punishment of those crimes only by paying some fines.

At present, there are a total of 7,002 cases ongoing in the three environmental courts of Bangladesh. Of these, only 388 lawsuits have been filed under the Environmental Protection Act, only 5 percent of the total cases.

However, these Courts have been set up to trial environmental crimes, lowest number of lawsuits filed against such issues.

It is clear from these statistics that the number of laws enacted to protect the environment is deficient. Not only that, the central tendency of the Department of Environment (Bangladesh), which is in charge of environmental protection, is to file a case in the mobile court and collect the fine.

From 2015 to 2020, the Department of Environment has filed 8,756 cases in the mobile court regarding environmental crimes.

In that cases imposed fines of around Tk.530million, of which Tk.465.4 million has recovered.

Instead of filing a case in the permanent court for environmental pollution offenses, the practice of immediately collecting some fines by conducting a mobile court has created an opportunity for the polluters to take a lesser view of such offenses.

The offenders often get an excellent waiver from the mobile court that charged them through appealing in court.

This opportunity gives them the liability to assume that environmental pollution is not a crime that requires imprisonment and they can get rid of him by paying a fine. As a result, they continue to pollution activities.

However, we must break this cycle. Instead of the ad hoc system of mobile courts, it should take file cases to permanent courts for a fair trial of environmental pollution-related crimes.

Imprisonment of offenders, charging fines if needed, imposing both types of penalties, and revoking the license of polluting installations/organizations should take regulate accordingly.

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