POST TIME: 9 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM
POBA to train 10,000 strong ‘Green Force’
Volunteers to protect environment in Dhaka
Anisur Rahman Khan

POBA to train 10,000 strong ‘Green Force’

An environmentalist group has decided to set up a “green force” of at least 10,000 volunteers in Dhaka to preserve the environment, ecology and mitigate challenges due to climate change. As part of the initiative, Poribesh Bachao Andolan (POBA) has started with the first batch of 50 participants, who will be trained on various aspects pertaining to the environment and ecology. Speaking to The Independent, POBA general secretary Abdus Sobhan informed that the main objective for setting up this voluntary green force was to prevent pollution and river grabbing.

Sobhan added that the initiative by volunteers had become essential because of the failure of officials concerned to protect the country’s environment and ecology.

According to POBA sources, some unscrupulous people were indiscriminately grabbing river banks, canals and wetlands across the country by filling them with earth and soil. Besides, they were also polluting the environment by producing and dumping polythene.

Moreover, the emission of black smoke from illegal brick kilns also violated the country’s laws, the sources added.

About 49 per cent of the country’s population was aged between 10-24 years and these youths would be able to mitigate various challenges to the ecology, including pollution, if they were trained properly, green activists said.

“The youth can play a vital role in the development, advancement and prosperity of society. So, these future generations have to be prepared to protect the country’s environment and ecology,” Sobhan, who is also a former additional director

general (ADG) of the department of environment (DoE), said yesterday.

“Our initial target is to train 200 youths in four batches. Later, these participants will train others in phases. Mostly private universities have evinced interest in joining this programme,” he said. “Many universities have a department of environmental science and so it would be easier for them to form these green forces,” he added.

“At least two lakh volunteers will be trained as green forces across the country. These green forces will act voluntarily to preserve the country’s environment and ecology from pollution and land grabbing. They will protest against illegal activities and we will seek help from local administrations to assist them,” Sobhan said.

Green activists, experts and university professors will help in training these green forces by informing the participants about the laws related to environment as well as teaching them how to create awareness on environmental causes, he added.

DoE officials have also appreciated POBA’s initiative. “We will welcome anybody who is interested in environment protection. We think these green forces will play an auxiliary role in protecting the environment by creating awareness,” Quazi Sarwar Imtiaz Hashmi, ADG of DoE, said yesterday.