Urge speakers

Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon yesterday urged the authorities to plan and implement development projects while keeping existing trees and greenery intact as much as possible.

It also demanded immediate action to recover and protect waterbodies and the creation of a "blue network" connecting waterbodies with rivers.

Bapa organised a discussion on the importance of the environment in sustainable urbanisation and unveiled a proposal booklet at Dhaka Reporters' Unity.

Bapa Vice President and architect Iqbal Habib presented the main article while scholars and activists discussed how to ensure sustainable urbanisation, focusing on waterbodies, greenery and open spaces.

Discussants proposed a tree census and a database of roadside trees to control tree felling in the name of development. They proposed a policy to ensure tree plantation.

"Due to encroachment and pollution, Dhaka's waterbodies and greenery have decreased alarmingly. Before taking any development project, a proper Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Mitigation Plan must be done and stakeholders should be informed about these," said Iqbal Habib.

Ishrat Islam, professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Buet, said, "The city corporation is responsible for protecting canals and waterbodies. We may still have time to save the existing ones. The scenario outside Dhaka is almost similar and needs special attention too."

"Assessment and accountability are needed from those who are responsible for saving the environment. An evaluation of their performances can be helpful," Ishrat added.

Prof Ahmad Kamruzzaman Majumder, joint secretary of Bapa, said uncontrolled construction works and unfit vehicles are responsible for air and sound pollution in Dhaka.

He stressed short, mid and long-term plans to improve the situation.

Speakers also demanded protection of agricultural lands and maximum use of non-agricultural lands.


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