When the local businesses are growing fast, it’s alarming to witness that many renowned companies have been ignoring environmental rules.
These incidents are recently being revealed thanks to the enforcement drives by the Department of Environment (DoE), led by a director, Mohammad Munir Chowdhury.
This man must be applauded, though he has been threatened by many big businessmen for the drives the DoE launches against polluters of land, water, air, and violating limits of tolerable sound.
Some names can be mentioned who were penalized in September: Pran Group, Akij Group, Abul Khayer Group, Orion Group, Fu-wang, Beximco, Japan Garden City etc.
Also, most of the firms fined and sued are dyeing and textile factories.
In September, the DoE fined 52 businesses Tk 4.76 crore.
Despite such threats made openly against the DoE, the industries ministry seems to be a bit silent, and in some cases, especially regarding the highly-hazardous shipbreaking industry, backs the unscrupulous businessmen for the sake of ‘industrialisation’!
However, the DoE director, backed by the minister concerned, has relentlessly been conducting the drives.
The only flaw seen is that the firms are given warning to correct themselves and follow the rules. This extension is, in most cases, lengthy.
On October 14 and 15, the DoE fined two firms Tk 31 lakh for polluting environment and constructing buildings without acquiring clearance. Of those, ABM Garments and Kazipur Fashions Limited of Standard Group were fined Tk 24 lakh for polluting river and Comfort Group Tk 7 lakh for setting up building violating rules.
On October 2, the DoE fined two cement industries a total of Tk 31 lakh at Meghnaghat in Sonargaon upazila of Narayanganj for polluting air.
Munir Chowdhury, DoE director (enforcement), fined Unique Cement Industries Limited [Fresh Cement] Tk 19.95 lakh and Madina Cement Industries Limited [Tiger Cement] Tk 11.13 lakh. The concerned authorities were also asked to adapt pollution preventive technology by October 31.
However, I again appreciate the DoE for being active despite the fact that it lacks manpower and necessary support from the law enforcing agencies.
I hope that the government will immediately increase the capability of the DoE, especially its enforcement and monitoring teams, and continue the drives against polluters.