Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stressed the need for taking all the development plans in a way that will help protect the country’s environment and soil, keeping in mind the food, security and a healthy environment for its 16 crore people.
“Our soil is fertile….we’ll have to protect our soil and environment…Bangladesh is a country of 16 crore people of which only 80-90 lakh live abroad, then all the plans should be undertaken to ensure their food, security and a healthy environment for living,” she said.
Hasina came up with the remarks in her introductory speech at a meeting with the officials of the Ministry of Environment and Forests during her first visit to the ministry after assuming office for the second successive term.
The Prime Minister also said that not only the development plans of the capital, but also the rural programmes will have to be worked out in a way that will ensure the country’s overall development.
Environment and Forests Minister Anwar Hossain Monju, Deputy Minister Abdullah Al Islam Jakob, Ministry Secretary Shafiqur Rahman Patwari and other high officials were, among others, present.
Noting that the Buriganga River is now in a very bad shape as all kinds of sewage, including industrial and other kinds of toxic ones, are being dumped into the river, the Prime Minister underscored the need for taking joint initiatives by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Water Resources and Shipping on how to save the important river.
Sewages and wastages are being dumped into the Buriganga through the drainage system at 135 points, she said adding that an Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) could be set up through establishing a strong, separate drainage system to save the river from pollution.
Hasina also hoped that it would be possible to turn Bangladesh into a developed and prosperous country if its resources could be utilised properly, and said the role of the Ministry of Environment and Forests is very much important to save the country.
About the apprehension of submerging a portion of the country beneath the sea due to rise in the sea level, Hasina said her government has been taking steps to this end alongside conducting River dredging works to enhance the retention capacity of the rivers and thus creating a scope for irrigation during the lean period.
The Prime Minister said once the country’s river routes and the railways were neglected although these were the cheapest ways for passenger and goods transportation. To further activate the River routes, Hasina suggested taking joint initiatives by the ministries concerned.
She also noted that filling up of Dhaka city canals like Purana Paltan, Segunbagicha have damaged the city’s drainage system.