The environment refers to air, water and land in which human beings, animals and plants live. So, all living beings, natural forces and natural resources are parts of the environment. Human beings, animals, plants, air, water, land, etc. are the main elements of the environment. These elements should be sound for sound living. But when they are polluted and their essential balance is disrupted, this phenomenon is known as environmental pollution.
It is our duty to protect the environment from pollution. Saving the environment means keeping air, water and land free from pollution or contamination for the welfare and the existence of life on earth. People are destroying the environment through pollution in various ways. The 130 million people of Bangladesh are polluting the environment every moment. On the other hand, the government has manpower of only a few hundreds to clean it. It is hardly possible for the government alone to save the environment without the people taking some responsibility for keeping their environment clean.Air Pollution: There is a good reason to worry about the air quality in Bangladesh. She ranks 169th out of 178 countries at the Environmental Performance Index for air quality (2014 score). Mainly in cities and towns air pollution is very acute. As the causes of these pollution, the factories come first, then comes the exhaust of vehicles burning petrol and diesel. As a result, smoke and fumes are produced causing serious air pollution. Besides burning of trash and indiscriminate discharge of human waste in the open also causes air pollution. Serious air pollution occurs in industrial areas. To prevent such air pollution we should be determined to take positive steps to clean our air.
It is impossible on the part of the government to enforce the existing laws properly and bring the violators under justice without the help of the people. So, mills should be shifted from the locality of residential areas. Excessive smoke producing vehicles should be banned. Lead free petrol and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) should be used in vehicles to minimise air pollution. To live in an air pollution free city is a dream. We should invest all our efforts to materialise this dream. Each and every individual has to be conscious of the problem, abide by the laws and refrain himself from polluting surroundings.
Water Pollution: Bangladesh is grappling with the largest mass poisoning of a population in history, as the groundwater used for drinking has become contaminated with naturally occurring inorganic arsenic. It is estimated that of the 125 million inhabitants of Bangladesh about 35 million are at risk of drinking contaminated water.
Water pollution means making water harmful and unsuitable to be used by throwing waste. Life is another name of water. Water is a life saviour. Water is used not only for drinking purposes but also for household works, agriculture and industrial works. Water is polluted in many ways. Human beings are mostly responsible for it.
Man pollutes water by throwing waste into it, making unsanitary latrines beside rivers or canals. Farmers use chemicals and fertilisers in their fields. These are washed by flood or rain to pollute the waters of nearby rivers, canals or ponds. Mills and factories throw their wastes and poisonous chemicals into the rivers and pollute their water. Steamers, launches and even sail boats can pollute water by throwing oil, food waste and human waste into the rivers and canals.
Clean water is a must for life and polluted water is harmful. Drinking polluted water can make us ill. Cholera, typhoid, dysentery and other water borne diseases occur if we drink polluted water. Fishes die, farming becomes impossible in severely polluted water. We can prevent water pollution by careful waste management. Farmers should use organic fertilisers instead of chemical fertilisers. Sanitary latrines should be used. Above all, common people should be conscious about pollution.Deforestation: One of the most important topics to save the environment is tree plantation. Tree plantation is just the opposite of the concept of deforestation. Deforestation refers to the cutting and burning down of forests unnecessarily. In a word, it is the destruction of trees and plants in our forests. It has many adverse effects on the environment and our life. It destroys the ecological balance of the environment. Due to deforestation, many species of birds and animals have already become extinct and many of them are facing the threat of extinction. Because of deforestation, it doesn't rain adequately and this causes long term droughts which may turn large areas into desert. Apart from this, deforestation also hampers our agricultural production. In fact, our environment is going to be uninhabitable if deforestation continues. However, there is one way to save ourselves and our environment from it. We should start a mass campaign for tree plantation. For this, we should raise awareness among the masses about the adverse effects of deforestation as well as about the importance of tree plantation.
People destroy land by dumping polythene, using chemicals, releasing industrial wastes, etc. It is difficult for a government official to know who, when and where are throwing polythene to pollute soil or water. It is the conscience of an individual that can prevent pollution at large. Therefore, to save the environment is the responsibility of each and every individual, not only the government.
Tawhida Akter, Department of Political
Science, University of Chittagong