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Protecting the environment with just a call

GreenWatch Desk Opinion 2024-02-08, 11:51pm

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One of Bangladesh’s biggest challenges, as it looks to become a high-income economy in the next two decades, is how it will do so while protecting its natural environment.

This newspaper has editorialized numerous times on how urbanization has occurred in a mostly unchecked manner, while numerous unscrupulous parties have made it their mission to profit at the expense of our environment, often due to their allegiance with influential entities.
To that end, it is good to see the government take matters into its own hands; the National Information and Service Helpline “333-4” has been launched to receive complaints related to the environment. Through this, people can formally complain about water pollution, air pollution, noise pollution, biodiversity loss, and illegal forest/mountain destruction and tree felling.
Through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and a2i of the ICT Division, there is also hope of more data-driven decision making and digital transformation within the ministry, including e-tickets for tourist centres, including safari parks, and digital solutions to strengthen enforcement activities on environmental standards and impact assessment.
It is also a positive sign to see such collaboration between two government bodies -- it is through collaborative efforts and leveraging the strengths that each ministry brings to the table will we best be able to overcome the hurdles in front of us.
However, scepticism is only natural whenever we see such initiatives taken. Bangladesh is unfortunately notorious for having the right laws, but which are never implemented. We can only hope that, as citizens take it upon themselves to call in and alert the authorities about malicious environmental degradation, these calls don’t fall on deaf ears, and action is taken immediately.
Empowering citizens to protect the environment is just the sort of forward-thinking decisions we expect from a government calling itself smart.