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An Array of Environmental Problems threaten  Bangladesh

  • Contamination of drinking water; the level of arsenic is more than 500 percent of the WHO recommended safe mark for over 80 million people.
  • Desertification of large parts of the country due to construction of dams and barrages upstream in India.
  • Sea Level rise and the prospect of large-scale inundation
  • Air pollution in urban areas, periodical flooding,  pollution of rivers, the destruction of forests and wetlands

  

 

Our Mission

Unfortunately, efforts by the government are not proving adequate to save Bangladesh’s environment. In fact in many cases government’s activities are aggravating environmental deterioration Read more...

Our Vision

The environment of Bangladesh is deteriorating fast. Urban air quality is plummeting. Ground water is contaminated. Surface water bodies are getting polluted, encroached, and degraded. Solid, fluid, gaseous, and hazardous wastes are overflowing. Forests and open spaces are disappearing. Noise is increasing. Bio-diversity is vanishing. Health conditions are suffering due to pollution. Unless these processes of degradation are slowed down and reversed, the country’s economic, social, cultural, and human progress will be gradually hampered, and Bangladesh will become unlivable in the long-term. Read more...

Our Background

Bangladesh Environment Network (BEN) has been set up to facilitate communication about Bangladesh's environmental problems. It is open to all Bangladeshis who are either residing in Bangladesh or living abroad. BEN is also open to non-Bangladeshis who are interested in Bangladesh's environmental problems.  Read more...
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About Bangladesh Environment Network

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Bangladesh Environment Network (BEN) has been set up to facilitate communication about Bangladesh's environmental problems. It is open to all Bangladeshis who are either residing in Bangladesh or living abroad. BEN is also open to non-Bangladeshis who are interested in Bangladesh's environmental problems.

Over the last few years, Bangladesh has undergone serious environmental degradation. The lead level in air of Bangladesh's cities is several hundred times higher than the UN recommended safe level. The level of arsenic in 43 out of Bangladesh's 64 districts has been found to be more than 500 percent of the WHO recommended safe mark. The population density has reached a dangerously high level. The forests are disappearing. Rivers and other water bodies are being filled up. Unknown number of animal and plant species has become extinct. Chemical runoff from farm fields into the neighboring water bodies is damaging the country's fish stock. Disposal of solid waste has become a major problem in the urban areas. Rising use of plastic and other toxic and non-biodegradable materials is making even household waste a major threat to health and environment. As Bangladesh tries to industrialize, increasing amount of toxic and non-toxic industrial waste is being dumped into neighboring lands water bodies.

 

Related Organizations

Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bangladesh Environment Movement, BAPA)

This is an umbrella organization of  environmental activists from all walks of life in Bangladesh.  This is not an NGO; it is an organization of volunteers. BEN has closely with BAPA. to support various initiatives in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association

The Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association seeks to bring the benefits of public-interest legal representation on environmental matters to the people of Bangladesh.

Environment Nepal

Nepal's environment group.

Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia

This Boston based activist group holds events regularly to address issues of common concern in South Asia.

South Asia Citizens Web

Citizens initiatives of South Asia and diasporas

About Us

Bangladesh Environment Network (BEN) has been set up to facilitate communication about Bangladesh's environmental problems. It is open to all Bangladeshis who are either residing in Bangladesh or living abroad. BEN is also open to non-Bangladeshis who are interested in Bangladesh's environmental problems.

Over the last few years, Bangladesh has undergone serious environmental degradation. The lead level in air of Bangladesh's cities is several hundred times higher than the UN recommended safe level. The level of arsenic in 43 out of Bangladesh's 64 districts has been found to be more than 500 percent of the WHO recommended safe mark. The population density has reached a dangerously high level. The forests are disappearing. Rivers and other water bodies are being filled up. Unknown number of animal and plant species has become extinct. Chemical runoff from farm fields into the neighboring water bodies is damaging the country's fish stock. Disposal of solid waste has become a major problem in the urban areas. Rising use of plastic and other toxic and non-biodegradable materials is making even household waste a major threat to health and environment. As Bangladesh tries to industrialize, increasing amount of toxic and non-toxic industrial waste is being dumped into neighboring lands water bodies.

Overall, it seems that the country is headed toward an environmental disaster. Bangladesh's arsenic situation has already become a focus of international alarm. In addition to being the locale of natural disasters, Bangladesh has now also emerged as the country of man-made ecological disasters. With global warming and the possibility of rising sea level, the very long term physical existence of the country, being just a few feet above the sea-level for its most parts, has become a question.

It is clear that the government response to the environmental situation has been inadequate and often inept. Bangladesh government does not have an overall coherent plan of its own to fight environmental degradation. It is simply relying on initiative, finance, and prodding of donor agencies. The result has been an array of disconnected and often contradictory projects, which are generally failing to be effective.

Objectives

  • The problem of environmental degradation in Bangladesh is too serious to be left entirely to government initiative. It is necessary to create a broad popular movement to safeguard Bangladesh's environment. The educated civil society of the country has to take lead in creating such a movement. It is with this spirit that BEN has been set up. The concrete objectives of BEN are to:
  • Gather and disseminate information about environmental degradation in Bangladesh. 
  • Gather and disseminate information about possible solutions to Bangladesh's environmental problems. 
  • Establish and strengthen connection among various environmental organizations in Bangladesh. 
  • Establish and strengthen connection between environmental organizations in Bangladesh on the one hand and international environmental organizations, on the other. 
  • Formulate various policies that can and should be adopted to solve and avoid environmental problems in Bangladesh.
  • Generate public opinion in favor of policies necessary to protect environment. 
  • Persuade and assist the government adopt and implement environment-friendly policies.

Our Background

Bangladesh Environment Network (BEN) has been set up to facilitate communication about Bangladesh's environmental problems. It is open to all Bangladeshis who are either residing in Bangladesh or living abroad. BEN is also open to non-Bangladeshis who are interested in Bangladesh's environmental problems.

Over the last few years, Bangladesh has undergone serious environmental degradation. The lead level in air of Bangladesh's cities is several hundred times higher than the UN recommended safe level. The level of arsenic in 43 out of Bangladesh's 64 districts has been found to be more than 500 percent of the WHO recommended safe mark. The population density has reached a dangerously high level. The forests are disappearing. Rivers and other water bodies are being filled up. Unknown number of animal and plant species has become extinct. Chemical runoff from farm fields into the neighboring water bodies is damaging the country's fish stock. Disposal of solid waste has become a major problem in the urban areas. Rising use of plastic and other toxic and non-biodegradable materials is making even household waste a major threat to health and environment. As Bangladesh tries to industrialize, increasing amount of toxic and non-toxic industrial waste is being dumped into neighboring lands water bodies.

Overall, it seems that the country is headed toward an environmental disaster. Bangladesh's arsenic situation has already become a focus of international alarm. In addition to being the locale of natural disasters, Bangladesh has now also emerged as the country of man-made ecological disasters. With global warming and the possibility of rising sea level, the very long term physical existence of the country, being just a few feet above the sea-level for its most parts, has become a question.

It is clear that the government response to the environmental situation has been inadequate and often inept. Bangladesh government does not have an overall coherent plan of its own to fight environmental degradation. It is simply relying on initiative, finance, and prodding of donor agencies. The result has been an array of disconnected and often contradictory projects, which are generally failing to be effective.

Our Vision

The environment of Bangladesh is deteriorating fast. Urban air quality is plummeting. Ground water is contaminated. Surface water bodies are getting polluted, encroached, and degraded. Solid, fluid, gaseous, and hazardous wastes are overflowing. Forests and open spaces are disappearing. Noise is increasing. Bio-diversity is vanishing. Health conditions are suffering due to pollution. Unless these processes of degradation are slowed down and reversed, the country’s economic, social, cultural, and human progress will be gradually hampered, and Bangladesh will become unlivable in the long-term. 

There was a time, when some used to argue, referring to the so-called Environmental Kuznets’ Curve, that environmental deterioration is inevitable with industrialization and that environmental quality will be restored once the country achieves high income level. However, international experience has now shown that environmental deterioration is not inevitable and that industrialization and economic progress can be achieved without letting the environment to suffer inordinately. Moreover, there are many environmental damages that are irreversible. Hence a country has to care for its environment right from the beginning of industrialization and not wait till the damages are already done. It is now possible to take advantage of the experience and the availability of the technologies in order to avoid the mistakes of the past and to develop while preserving the environmental quality. 

Bangladesh has a very fragile environment characterized by deltaic conditions, extremely high density of population (with already high ecological footprint per unit of land), no large uninhabited open tract, little forest cover, interconnected water bodies, and ubiquitous underground water table. It is easy to damage Bangladesh’s environment, and due to the high density of population, the human costs of pollution are high. Also, almost entire Bangladesh is close to the sea level so that much of the country can get inundated by a rise in sea level. Bangladesh therefore has particular reason to be worried about climate change resulting from global warming. 

BEN envisages a Bangladesh that will industrialize without destroying its environment. It will save its lush green verdure, its rivers and lakes, its flora and fauna from the ill effects of economic growth. BEN wants to see a prosperous Bangla while at the same time being the beautiful, ruposhi Bangla, as described by the poet Jibanananda. Finally BEN wants Bangladesh’s very existence not to be threatened by sea level rise resulting from global warming.

Our Mission

Unfortunately, efforts by the government are not proving adequate to save Bangladesh’s environment. In fact in many cases government’s activities are aggravating environmental deterioration. 

Various NGOs and some civil society organizations have been carrying out pro-environmental efforts for some time. However, in most cases these efforts were isolated and without much effect. 

Towards the end of 1990, there was realization that pro-environment forces of the country need to unite in order to play an effective role. Environment conscious non-resident Bangladeshis (NRB) also came forward under the umbrella of BEN to join pro-environment organizations in Bangladesh to organize an International Conference on Bangladesh Environment (ICBEN) in January 2000. A concrete outcome of this conference was the formation of  BAPA (acronym in Bangla for Bangladesh Environment movement)  as a united platform of pro-environment forces of Bangladesh with the following concrete goals:

  • To stop the process of further environmental degradation in Bangladesh.
  • To reverse, where possible, the damage that has already been done to the environment. 
  • To build up a nationwide, united, civic movement to achieve the aims of stopping and reversing environmental degradation in  Bangladesh.

BEN Conferences

  • Special Conference

    Environment Movement and Organization (EMO)

    Date: January 8, 2014 

    Read more...  
  • ICEAB

    International Conference on Environmental Aspects of Bangladesh (ICEAB)

    Date: October 13-14, 2012 

     

    Read more...

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