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Monday, 25 September 2023
World Environment Day: Let's all work together to stop plastic pollution

World Environment Day: Let's all work together to stop plastic pollution

Dr. Muhammad Mahtab Hossain Mazed

Today Monday is the 50th World Environment Day 2023. Every year, June 5 is celebrated as 'World Environment Day' in more than 100 countries of the world, including Bangladesh, with the aim of increasing public awarenessThe theme of 2023 is "We all work together to stop plastic pollution".

On May 20, 1968, the Swedish government sent a letter to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. The subject of the letter was their deep concern about nature and environmental pollution. In the same year, the United Nations included the issue of environmental protection in the agenda of the General Session. The following year, the United Nations Human Environment Conference was held in Stockholm, Sweden, from June 5 to 16, 1972, with the consent of the member states to discuss in detail on environmental protection and seek solutions.

The conference was recognized as the first international conference on environment in history. In 1973, the first day of the conference, 5 June was declared by the United Nations as 'World Environment Day' in 1974Efforts to increase awareness about the environment have been going on for ages and our environment consists of the climate, plants, soil, other animals, people, organic and inorganic things around us.

People live in this world because the environment of the earth is favorable for the development of organisms But nowhere else in the solar system or anywhere in the universe are human beingsNot found Maybe there is life somewhere in the universe Maybe, in the world of a distant star Like the earth in the world of this sun--- there is such a world there may be people there, but still beyond the knowledge of our scientists. So now we can say, this vast universe is the only environment of the earthMan is habitable Outside of this there is no place for people to live and growBut because of our indifference, the environment of this world is getting polluted---becoming unfit for human habitation.

Water pollution, air pollution, soil pollution, we are polluting everything Toxic wastes from factories, human bodily wastes---feces, urine, rotting animal carcasses or human bodies---all regularly pollute water. Now a 'master plan' has to be taken to de-pollute the fallen Pabni Ganga But the work is not progressing much

Plants provide oxygen to the air, absorb dust, smoke etc. from the air, cause rain. But people are rapidly destroying the forest due to their greed and are also destroying various animals. These animals also naturally help to keep the environment pollution free Killing and eating animals to satisfy our lust whosAs a result, we are axing at the root of our own civilizationGlobal warming is basically our fault Air pollution is increasing Along with it, pollution in food, pollution in drink as a result of our greed Nothing is nearly pollution free As a result, various serious diseases are being born

In view of all this, in 1972, under the initiative of the United Nations, representatives of different countries of the world met in Stockholm and discussed in detail to avoid this problem. Environmental pollution poses a threat to all people of the world So all the countries of the world to deal with itThe public should be aware of this In that world conference it has been suggested to observe 5th June every year as 'Environment Day' to make people aware about environment.

5th June is observed as 'Environment Day' This day is celebrated through various meetings, processions, discussions and programsWe have to resolve to clean the environment, and forest, not to be destroyed every year, but to be reforested. In that case, if it is absolutely necessary to cut down one tree, then let's plant ten trees instead Also plan to plant trees extensively every year Water is an essential element of the environment. It is said that another name of water is life Just as water is needed for drinking, water is also needed for agriculture We are easily withdrawing water from the ground to meet our drinking water shortage and for agriculture This appears to be an ominous sign for the future Therefore, without touching the underground water reservoir, nature rains that huge public resourceDonate, that water should be conserved.

Through 100 days of work or by inspiring people to greater ideals, they should improve their water holding capacity by renovating rivers, canals and canals. It will also reduce the incidence of floods Water reservoirs should be made widely in villages 'Get water, fill water' --- a slogan is just a political sloganWithout leaving, work should be done properly The rain water should be retained and used for agricultural work throughout the year and it should be purified and used as drinking water. In general, the human habitable environment of this world should be protected for the sake of protecting human civilization.

The most important thing is that the person who will protect this environment---should bear the great responsibility of purifying it--must think of purifying the human mind first. Because everything good and bad is created in the mind of people

> Causes of environmental pollution:-
Due to the effect of polluted environment, the natural diversity of the living world is lost and imbalanced. It disrupts people's lifestyle. Various essential elements of the environment such as – air, water and noise pollution cause environmental crisis. Due to the environmental crisis, human life is greatly disrupted and the natural development of the living world is affected. Environmental pollution causes physical, mental and economic problems for people.

Various diseases spread as a result of environmental pollution. Water pollution causes diseases like cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, typhoid, itch etc. Noise pollution causes heart disease, headaches, mental problems and ear diseases. As a result of air pollution, there are many complex diseases including lung diseases. Apart from this, soil pollution causes various disease-causing bacteria or microorganisms to spread. In addition, the fertility of the land decreases and the production is disrupted.

It causes food and money shortageAmong the many causes of environmental pollution are urbanization, industrialization, population growth, development of mechanized civilization, deforestation, use of various chemicals including fertilizers, pesticides, dumping of garbage and animal carcasses, factory wastes, black smoke from car factories and brick kilns, carbon dioxide.

Increase,Depletion of forests, installation of tube wells, inadequacy of land, land erosion, unplanned stoves and fuels, etc. are particularly significant environmental pollution threats to public health. Environmental crisis can endanger the entire mankind. It is very important to prevent environmental pollution.

The measures that are absolutely necessary to remedy the environmental pollution are to carry out more publicity campaigns about the dangers of the endangered environment in the mass media, to increase public awareness, to reduce the use of pesticides, to plant more trees, to bury animal carcasses on the ground, to littershould be disposed of at specific places, emphasis should be placed on conservation, proper use and management of various natural materials and resources, use of polythene should be stopped, use of coal oil as fuel should be stopped, brick kilns should be stopped in populated areas and brick kilns should be environmentally friendly. , of the environmentCleanliness and balance must be maintained.> Environment and Health:-

Health is the root of all happiness. The phrase has its proper usage According to the World Health Organization estimates, about 25 percent of the world's deaths are environmental. Nowadays people are suffering from various health problems due to environmental pollution.

This problem is not only Bangladesh, it is a global problem. Skilled human resources are needed to deal with this disaster. In this context, Bardem's organization Bangladesh University of Health Sciences Department of Occupational and Environmental Health has launched a Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Health and Safety.

The syllabus of this subject provides thorough knowledge on what causes environmental pollution, how toxic substances mix with our environment and harm health, how to identify, prevent and control the effects of this pollution. Disaster response methods are taught seriously. Along with important topics like climate change, conservation of biodiversity, waste management, urban health and water pollution, air pollution, soil pollution and other topics are included in the curriculum. But there are many questions about whether it has what it takes to maintain good health. According to experts, the first of many things that are needed to maintain good health is a healthy environment.

Only then can the correctness of the sentence be found. A beautiful environment is the key to well being, which is very important for every citizen. Where every citizen has security to live beautifully. But are we getting that environment? Considering our surroundings, the issue is being questioned today.

This question applies equally to both urban and rural areas. People today are moving towards the city in the urge of life. A city is defined as a place where more people live in a short area. Whether there are civic benefits or not. It's not something to watch.

It's enough to get a little headache. Having a healthy environment there is not so important to them. And where people are running to survive, it is really ridiculous to have a healthy environment. But is it not necessary? Yes of course there is, there is no alternative way to keep the body healthy or want to keep it without this environment.

But the statistics bear our negative news. Because whether for job opportunities or for any other reason, the number of people rushing towards the city is increasing day by day. Some of the damage caused by environmental pollution is direct. For example, a child died after eating pesticide-laced litchi or someone fell ill after eating poisonous fish. Again, some damage is long-term. For example, someone's kidney has been damaged by mixing chemicals or pesticides or eating toxic food. or contracted a lung infection from long-term exposure to polluted air.

  • Impaired intellectual development and nerve damage in children
    According to the report of the World Bank, poor women and children are suffering from pollution. Because most of them live in polluted areas, there is also a risk of lead pollution causing children's intellectual development and neurological damage.
  •  Physical damage to pregnant women, World Bank report: Pollution costs Bangladesh $6.5 billion a year, which is about three and a half percent of the gross national product or GDP.
    Living in polluted areas can greatly increase the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth for pregnant women. Polluted air and water in these areas can pose health risks to her and her unborn child.* Damage to eyes, respiratory system in air pollution US research institute Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory says that exposure to polluted air that contains chemical mixtures can cause infection or damage to eyes, nose or throat. Along with this, various lung complications, such as bronchitis or pneumonia, headaches, asthma and various allergic problems may occur. Scientists have seen the relationship between air pollution and diabetes.
  •  Cancer and heart disease
    Long-term exposure to air pollution or working in such an environment can lead to lung cancer and heart disease. It can even cause long-term problems with the brain, liver or kidneys.
  •  The effects of water pollution are long lasting
    The UK's Water Pollution Guide, which is working to reduce water pollution levels, says water pollution has far more long-term effects than temporary effects. Especially industrial factories are very harmful to the human body. Consumption of these water can cause diseases like skin disease, typhoid, jaundice or hepatitis.
    * Damage through the food chain
    Scientists say that the pollution also spreads to the animals that live in polluted water or rivers, such as fish or animals, plants that grow. Through the food cycle, these harmful substances enter the human body again. As a result, even if they are not directly in the vicinity of polluted water, those pollutants enter the human body through these fish, which can lead to full-blown birth defects or cancer. Even through the food cycle, many harmful substances including lead, plastic are entering the human body.
    * Hypertension due to noise pollution, plastic is used to store every product from food to medicine, cosmetics, which is entering the human body again through the food cycle.
    The US National Association of Noise Control says road noise can cause hypertension, ulcers, heart disease, headaches or nerve problems. Even being in an environment of excessive noise can cause a baby to develop congenital creatine. Noise pollution can cause blood pressure, breathing problems and even digestive problems.
    * Organs losing function due to food contamination
    Intestinal diseases, liver, kidney or stomach are losing function due to food pollution. Various problems including gastric ulcer are developing. Sometimes cancer is also formed due to these reasons. If children eat this type of contaminated food from childhood, their immunity is reduced or their growth is stunted.
    > What is the way to be saved?
    It is not enough to look only to the government or authorities to avoid environmental pollution. One should be aware of protecting the environment first." Noise can cause one's hypertension, ulcers, heart disease, headaches or nerve problems.
    Noise can cause one to develop hypertension, ulcers, heart disease, headaches or nerve problems
    "The law must be enforced, and we must also be careful not to cause air pollution, water or noise pollution.
    > The theme of World Environment Day is highlighted below. Plastic pollution is a critical problem worldwide; Which is a great threat to environment, biodiversity, economy and human health. 51 percent of the world's plastic waste, which endangers the environment, is produced only in the countries of the Asian continent. Unbelievable but true, about 3,000 tons of plastic waste is added to the environment in Bangladesh every day, which is 8 percent of all types of waste. The recommendations adopted in the two-day international webinar of Bangladesh Science Academy and Asian Science Academies to deal with plastic pollution are: 1) Plastic pollution management laws and policies should be updated at the global and regional levels; 2) Laws made on plastic pollution management in BangladeshMust be strictly implemented; 3) The environmental protection policy and plastic pollution policy should be coordinated and updated based on modern knowledge; 4) Encourage repeated use and recycling of plastic products; 5) Although the role of plastic products in our life is acknowledged, but in useCaution and moderation are necessary; 6) Encouraging the use of biodegradable plastics and providing incentives to use jute bags and other jute products as alternatives to plastic; 7) Polythene and other plastics involving private institutions and communitiesLimiting the use of the product and ensuring protection of the environment and human health.Here are some ways to avoid plastic:-

> Balloons:-Balloons are non-biodegradable. They harm animals and spoil the quality of food by mixing with the soil. But balloons are very attractive objects to children. Also, birthdays or any event can't go without balloonsBut instead of balloons, paper pompoms can be used. Decorating the house with pompoms will protect the beauty of the house as well as be environmentally friendly.
> Baskets:- Baskets should be used instead of littering everywhere. Otherwise, these wastes are taken to the river and deposited in heapsWhich destroys the river water and fish. Looking at the canals of Dhaka, you can see how these natural resources are being destroyed by the crowd of waste!
> Refraining from throwing garbage in rivers:- One should refrain from throwing garbage in rivers, ponds, canals. Because they pollute the water and the fishes die. Scientists say that half of the world's sea turtles die because of these plastics.

> Club Programme:- Various eco-friendly clubs can be opened in schools. Where there will be programs like environment protection week, meeting, fairThis will increase awareness among children, they will be responsible and careful in environmental care.

> Area wise programs:- Such initiatives can be taken in respective areas. Public awareness can be created by removing plastic products from every home, giving advice on using something else that is environmentally friendly instead of plastic, highlighting the harmful aspects.
> Gifts:- The best gift toys for kids. But these plastic toys are a threat to usSo toys can be given that keep the child happy and are also environmentally friendly. For example, a coupon, card, homemade gift can be given.

Our soil, water, air are constantly being polluted by plastic. In addition, plastic emits harmful substances called styrene, which can cause deadly diseases like cancer in the human body. Basically, plastic material is not beneficial for environment and human life in any way. Rather, we have to pay for the way the environment is being damaged by its use.

> Environmental Disaster Laws
Bangladesh Environment Conservation Rules-1997 (with amendments), Environment Courts Act-2010, Bangladesh Biodiversity Act-2017, Environmentally Threatened Areas Management Rules-2016, Noise Pollution Control Rules-2006, Medical Waste (Management and Processing) Rules-2008, Brick Preparation and Kiln installation (control)Act-2013 (with amendments), Climate Change Trust Act-2010, Motor Vehicles Act-1940, Smoking and Use of Tobacco Products (Control) Act-2005, Compulsory Use of Jute Products in Products Act-2010, National River Protection Commission Act-2013 etc. The law is not properly enforced! If environmental laws are implemented, awareness will be created among the public, so the environment will also be protected.

Environmental protection is not possible due to the fact that the Environmental Court Act is not practical and effective! According to the Environment Act-2010, there is a provision to form a court in each district of the country, but there are 3 Environment Courts (Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet) and an Environment Appellate Court in Dhaka. As a result, both plaintiffs and defendants are facing problems in managing environmental pollution cases in different districts.

As there is no environmental court in every district, victims are unable to file cases related to environmental pollution. Again, due to less number of environment courts, cases are taking a long time to settle. Unfortunately, under the existing environmental court law, ordinary people cannot directly sue the polluting companies! They can only sue for compensation. According to the data, only about 80 cases are filed annually in environmental courts in Bangladesh!

The question is, where the other courts of the country are overloaded with cases, why are so few cases filed in the environment court? Environmental pollution, degradation and disasters are heard in the media every day, but why people do not approach the environment court? The main reason for this is that public awareness about environmental laws is not yet developed. Generally, people who cause environmental damage and polluter are rich, influential and powerful. On the other hand, victims are often not encouraged to file a case because they are poor and common. Doubts about justice again! It can be seen that the cost of running the case is not the victim! For these reasons, the question may arise, how much is the environment court friendly?

Again, the complainant has to present all the evidence in the environmental court, which is a difficult task for the complainant! All other environment-related cases (protection of forests, water pollution, protection of biodiversity, etc.) cannot be filed in the Environment Court. Only offenses under the Brick Making and Kiln Setting (Regulation) Act-2013 can be prosecuted and compensation can be claimed. Therefore, the environmental law should be amended to reflect the public's desire to protect environmental rights in the environmental court, and the jurisdiction to file all kinds of cases should be opened to all. In addition, public awareness should be raised about various laws and regulations related to the environment. As a result, the public will be able to play a direct role in protecting the environment around them.

Finally, I want to say that the causes of environmental pollution should be identified and eliminated. Government, administration and people should work together to prevent environmental pollution. Everyone has to step up to prevent global warming. Strategies should be adopted to reduce the use of environment-destroying products such as polythene. Strict attention should be paid so that environmental disaster does not happen. We have to think whether there will be environmental pollution during the construction of industries. Public awareness should be increased. In order to protect the water resources, the water of the rivers should be protected from pollution. More trees should be planted.

Action must be taken now to prevent the destruction of our vast marine environment and loss of fisheries. Steps should be taken to ensure the purity of water in ponds, bels, haors, lakes and ponds. Initiatives should be taken to prevent erosion of mountains. Biodiversity should be increasedAnd our country has environmental laws. But the law is not enforced. Apart from this, we ourselves are not aware of the environment. It will not be possible to prevent pollution only by making laws. To prevent environmental pollution, we must be aware of the environment.

If we don't cut the mountains, if we don't throw garbage everywhere, then the environment will be saved a lot. Due to environmental degradation and serious air pollution, people are constantly suffering from serious infectious diseases including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer. being affected Human activities are mainly responsible for this. Indiscriminate deforestation, overpopulation, poverty, black smoke from vehicles, loud honking, location of industrial factories and brick kilns in residential areas, etc. are polluting the environment. So we have to move forward with the commitment to make the world livable.

The writer is a Founder Chairman, Jatiya Rogi Kallyan Society
Columnist and researcher.

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