10th December 2017

   DHAKA, Dec 10, 2017 (BSS) - Bangladesh should put concentration on the green growth towards its journey of becoming the upper-middle income country, suggested World Bank (WB).


A new WB analysis observed rapid and unplanned urbanization causes air and water pollution in Dhaka and other cities. "So, Bangladesh must check environmental degradation, particularly in the urban areas."


A workshop on the preliminary findings of the report "Country Environment Assessment for Bangladesh" today said the country is losing one percent GDP every year due to air pollution.


Noncompliant industries and inadequate waste management of hazardous and nonhazardous materials are polluting the cities' air as well as surface and ground water, it added.


The report said for one ton of fabric, the dyeing and finishing factories discharge 200 metric tons of wastewater to rivers leading to health hazards in the capital's poorer neighborhood.


Speaking on the occasion, World Bank Acting Country Director for Bangladesh Zahid Hussain said, "When growth comes at the cost of environment, it cannot sustain. The good news is that we have seen it is possible to grow cleaner and greener without growing slower."


"To sustain its strong growth performance, Bangladesh simply cannot afford to ignore the environment. It must plan and act now to prevent environmental degradation and ensure climate resilience," he added.


The draft report focused on four areas: cost of environmental degradation, urban wetlands, cleaner technologies, and institutions.


As the country is rapidly urbanizing, the analysis suggests, it needs to manage the urbanization and industrialization process in an environmentally sustainable way.


Due to unplanned development, unabated pollution is affecting both the big and small cities. In Dhaka, around 600,000 residents are exposed to lead contamination, which can lead to IQ loss and neurological damage, especially among children.


The cities also suffer from water logging due to heavy rainfall. The report suggests that to improve the cities' resilience, the government needs to incorporate wetlands into urban planning, enforce zoning, and invest in waste management.


Environment and Forests Minister Anwar Hossain Manju delivered the keynote speech.


Policy makers, government officials, environmentalists, urban planners, and civil society representatives were present and discussed the findings of the draft, which will be launched in early next year.

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