POST TIME: 18 January, 2020 11:27:59 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 18 January, 2020 11:29:25 AM
Dhaka's environment polluted from diverse fronts
Garbage littering on roadsides and open urination at street corners and on open spaces under flyovers are also contributors to environmental pollution
Prof. Sarwar Md. Saifullah Khaled

Dhaka's environment polluted from diverse fronts

There are various factors that contribute to the pollution of the environment of the capital city Dhaka of Bangladesh. Dhaka’s environment is being polluted by most motor vehicles that ply on the roads. Experts urge the relevant authorities to stop environment-polluting superannuated motor vehicles from running in Dhaka's streets. The part of a package prescription for healing the environmental and hygienic health of the capital that is required is to impose ban on the life-expired and unfit buses, minibuses, trucks and other automotives in Dhaka. This is necessary as the capital’s air quality and living conditions are being rated by international agencies as among the worst. Experts urge the authorities to seize the vehicles plying on city roads that emit black smoke. The authorities concerned also has to fix the economic life of different cars or vehicles as per section 36 of the Road Transport Act 2018 and restrict the plying of those vehicles which have no economic life to run on roads in the capital.
The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) said that there are around 40, 18,000 registered vehicles in the country and 14, 42,860 of those run in Dhaka. Among the total, 4, 58,369 were registered. But across the country they did not have any fitness clearance. In the capital transport operations in particular includes outmoded buses, minibuses, untrained drivers whose rash driving result in fatal accidents. For long, lack of transport fitness, route certification and legal signaling causing huge toll that have been topics of discussion in myriad forums. The discussants point out that most of the passenger transports like buses and minibuses plying the city thoroughfares are outworn. But they are outwardly painted like new to get fitness certificate and route permit. These are the vehicles that spew black smoke into the air. Crackdowns on ramshackle vehicles were launched, somehow, under a much-talked-about new transport law, but there were pauses.  

It is surprising as to how these wrinkled, skin-excoriated buses run in this city wherein all high-ups live, remains a riddle. Experts suggest chasing out all the polluting old buses, minibuses that are painted new but spew toxic black smoke into the air. This is because they cause common harm to all-rulers, regulators, transporters and the commoners alike. Pick the buses which have life from the private transport operators and the Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation (BRTC) fleets. And operate those under the long-planned route-franchise basis. The authorities should ensure the use of covers on trucks or other vehicles that transport sand or soil through the city. At places where construction work is going on contractors should cover the works to prevent the spread of dust. Lot many such work including those under major transport-infrastructure projects pollutes environment.

Moreover, the authorities concerned need to sprinkle water on streets that were left out dusty and dry. The authorities also need to ensure complete road construction or excavation work or carpeting by complying with country’s laws and rules. There were concerted drives to demolish brick kilns around the city that spew toxic smokes that affect its air and environment. But many are still in operation and polluting environment. In this regard, the Department of Environment (DoE) need to shut down the rest of the illegal brick fields which are operating without licence and care to laws.

As it has been observed that transport fuel is being produced by burning old tyres, it is necessary that appropriate steps are taken to stop the burning of tyres and recycling of vehicles' batteries without approval from the DoE. As a further cleanup measure, it is necessary to take steps to ensure that all the market owners or shopkeepers keep their garbage in bags. There after the city corporations should remove those after the shops or markets are closed.

It is also alleged that garbage littering on roadsides and open urination at street corners and on open spaces under flyovers are contributors to environmental pollution. All agree but to no affect yet, that for an alleged lack of care and unfinished post-project works these are going on. Public urination and the dumping of garbage on open spaces under the flyovers – the filth spilling over onto adjacent streets at some places – are a common sight alleged the local people, pedestrians and analysts in different forums. Scenes under the flyovers in the capital could be much seemly in absence of those menaces.

Patches of the flyover areas and roadsides are sometimes washed by water passed by wayfarers to urgent nature's call, complain the local people. This is accentuated by the fact that there is a huge influx of rural people that continues to rush the capital in search of fortune. As per the urbanisation experts this nuisance is created for insufficiency of public toilets in the capital city. In addition, major portions of maximum spaces under flyovers are also filled with heaps of garbage dumped from under-flyover stores, and houses. These not only stain the looks of the neat and clean and well-maintained flyovers but also pollute the environment. These need to be taken care of too.

The writer is a retired Professor of Economics and Vice Principal at Cumilla Women’s Government College, Cumilla.