Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday ordered the authorities concerned to strengthen their efforts to keep the four rivers surrounding the capital free from pollution.
"These four rivers will die if those are not freed from wastes and pollution," she said while speaking at the 4th meeting of the National Committee on Environment held at the prime minister's office on Sunday.
The prime minister’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.
Putting emphasis on carrying out development activities in a planned way protecting the cultivable land, forests and water bodies, she said green afforestation have to be strengthened in the country's coastal and northern regions.
The prime minister laid emphasis on ensuring use of ETPs and STPs in the industries alongside improvement of the sewerage system.
She also gave directives once again to keep water-bodies free while implementing any housing scheme and setting up infrastructures in the industrial areas to face any disaster like fire incident.
Regarding the recent trend of excessive rain in the country includingthe capital, Hasina said though people have to suffer a lot due to the heavy rain, this also helps to free rivers from pollution, reduce salinity and recharge the underground water level.
She also alleged that except the tenure of the Awami League, the canals and lakes in the city were filled in various times, which is the main reason behind the water logging.
Turning to the world's largest mangrove forest Sundarbans, Hasina said the Sundarbans is a gift from the Almighty Allah.
Listing various steps of her government for the protection of the forest, she said employment opportunities were created there for those who were earlier engaged in cutting trees secretly.
She said Bangladesh is one of the first among the least developed countries to form Climate Change Trust Fund not relying on others to face the adverse impacts of climate change.
Highlighting various steps taken by her government for the protection of environment, Hasina said after assuming office in 1996, her government took initiatives to protect the environment and water-bodies while provision has also been kept in the 15th amendment to the constitution for the protection of the environment. Besides, the Bangladesh Environment Court Act was enacted in 2010.
Recalling the contributions of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for protection of the environment, she said Bangabandhu had worked a lot on environment and safe water issues while he had also promulgated the Water Pollution Control Ordinance in 1973.
The Prime Minister lamented that the actions of the subsequent governments after 1975 destroyed the environment. For example, she said, Ziaur Rahman had cut off most large and beautiful trees in the city during his regime.
A proposal to rename the Ministry of Environment and Forests' as the 'Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change' was approved at the meeting.
The meeting also approved the draft of the National Environment Policy 2017 as well as the draft of the Country Investment Plan on Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
The meeting also gave nod to a proposal in principle for setting up environment-friendly industries in Mongla.
Finance minister AMA Muhith, agriculture minister Begum Matia Chowdhury, environment and forests minister Anwar Hossain Monju, disaster management and relief minister Mofazzal Hossain Chowdhury Maya, land minister Shamsur Rahman Sharif, water resources minister Anisul Islam Mahmud, shipping minister Shajahan Khan, planning minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, food minister Qumrul Islam, the prime minister’s energy adviser Tawfique e Elahi Chowdhury, Dhaka South City Corporation mayor Sayeed Khokon, and secretaries concerned were present.