Environment | The Daily Star
  • Where does all our waste end up?

    Matuail landfill, located about eight kilometres from Gulistan in the south of Dhaka, is one of two landfills serving Dhaka city. Spanning 100 acres, the site is used by the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) to dispose of its municipal solid waste. Now 23 years old, it will reach capacity in a year at most. The Amin Bazar site, used by the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), has already expired last year. Putrid waste swarming with flies and rodents towers in hills tens of metres high.

  • Dark Flows the River Turag

    The waters of the Turag flow alongside Dhaka's industrial suburbs of Tongi, Gazipur and Savar, lined with dyeing and finishing factories. The river was once surrounded by agricultural land and the water was used mainly for fishing and transportation. Nowadays, the area is mostly inhabited by people who directly or indirectly work in the textile industry.

  • From depending on it to drowning in it

    Catfish, or Magur Mach, may not be a best seller in the market when compared to say a Chingri or an Ilish. However, when cooked the right way—fresh out off the pond—there are few delicacies that can beat the appetising taste of a Magur Macher jhol. Aside from the good taste, it also has medicinal values and is often prepared for pregnant women.

  • In conversation with Soumya Dutta

    Soumya Dutta is an Indian energy expert, green activist and researcher working on climate justice, energy, pollution and ecological justice. He has authored seven books/booklets and over 120 articles in related areas, and trained over 1,000 high school science teachers, activists and other workers. He has been an active proponent of the movement against the Rampal Power Plant. In this interview, he talks to Maha Mirza, a researcher and environmental activist from Bangladesh, about the dangers of subscribing to an unsustainable model of power generation.

  • Coast or Construction?

    The Yamaha engine sputters before giving life to the speedboat which swerves a sharp right and zooms past the zigzag of large fishing trawlers, the smell of dried fish, and sea salt heavy in the air. Within a few minutes on the steely-grey ocean expanse, the green speck of Moheshkhali appears. Planted mangroves lend this place a Sundarbans-like feel.

  • Barapukuria

    In 2016, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, addressing protesters of coal-fired power plants, stated: “Whenever we try to produce electricity, a section of people come out on the streets in the name of environment protection. There is a coal-fired power plant in Barapukuria, Dinajpur. No environmental damage has been reported there. Rather, soil fertility has improved. Rice crops are growing; trees are growing. People in this country indulge in eccentric thinking. I don't know where such thinking comes from.” She also said, “Coal purifies water.”

  • The Invisible Victims of “Development”

    During every high tide, thousands of people from different parts of Mongla Upazila rush to the Pashur River with dinghies and fishing nets. Those who cannot afford dinghies, wade through the river as far as they can with handheld fish traps. Even women, children and elderly people join this race to secure a place in the river or a foothold on its shallow shore. This race is not to catch fish but to catch the shrimp

  • The Sanctuary on its Death Bed

    On January 23 this year, at around 6:00am, the inhabitants of Gulishakhali village awoke terrified to the blood-curdling howl of a Bengal Tiger very close to their village. Soon afterwards, the six-foot tiger was seen roaming freely around the village in the Morelganj upazila of Bagerhat district. It roared fiercely as it searched for food, and its frustrated hunger made it charge at doors of several houses,scaring their

  • Anti-politics of climate change

    In the global imaginary of climate change, Bangladesh holds a prominent position. Frequently described as the 'world's most vulnerable country to climate change', this imagination of Bangladesh's impending climate crisis has taken on a life of its own. The spectre of Bangladesh underwater, wiped off the map by rising sea levels, has given birth to a crisis narrative that obscures the ways in which interventions in

  • In search of a development model that doesn't leave out people and the environment

    Is development essentially harmful for the environment? Must we sacrifice the environment in order to achieve much-needed development? Should we allow poisoning of our air, destruction of our forests, and pollution of our water to embrace development? If the answer is yes, how can we survive—how can this mother earth retain its ability to support our existence and our reproduction?

  • All that glitters is not sustainable

    The shopping malls sparkle with multi-coloured fairy lights throughout the night, beckoning us to indulge. Industries on the banks of Dhaka's prominent rivers boast of jobs and reek of foreign currency. Towering high-rises and old buildings given to 'develop' into apartment blocks reign over Dhaka's skyline. Thousands of crores of taka are invested in roads and highways connecting the country, and millions more are poured into energy generation. On the onset, we look every bit the part of the middle income country that we are on track to become.

  • Sundarban's new neigbours

    Even mid-way last year, the Department of Environment's environmental clearance committee questioned whether Navana's Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) bottling plant in Mongla should be cleared. “The plant is within the designated Ecologically Critical Area around the Sundarbans,” they opined. They held off on giving the license.

  • The gradual dying of our rivers

    The rivers winding through our delta make for a beautiful landscape as well as being one of our greatest assets—we depend on it for everything from our food to transport to an abundance of flora and fauna. Yet our rivers have been allowed to deteriorate to such an extent that these are no longer aesthetically, economically or ecologically viable.

  • IN AGONY

    Sicilia Snal, aged 25 in 2006, was shot when she went to collect firewood in the forest near her village. Sicilia is a Garo woman of Uttar Rasulpur, in Madhupur sal forest area. It was early in the morning of August 21, 2006, that Sicilia went to collect firewood with a few other Garo women. On their way back, they put down their loads to take rest for a while. All of a sudden, to their great surprise, the forest guards fired shots from their guns. Sicilia was hit. She fell to the ground, unconscious and bleeding. Terrified all but one woman fled.

  • Gazipur's Resorts: Not out of the Woods yet

    Just about 50 kilometres north of Dhaka lies the wooded surrounds of Gazipur, a district that has become increasingly popular these days because of its luxurious resorts that offer the guests a chance to get lost in nature's serenity and leave behind the big-city stress.

  • Productivity before People

    Without effectual resistance, Bangladesh is poised to join the ranks of 31 other nuclear nations of the world with the construction of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant. The Government of Bangladesh asks that people be proud of this fact. Yafes Osman, minister of science and technology has stated that this is a historical moment for Bangladesh. Whatever support the government has thus far garnered in favour of this project has happened through capitalising on the development rhetoric.

  • Fighting to save the giants of the seas

    A quick visit to the six no. Fisheries Ghat in the busy tourist town of Cox's Bazar and you will be greeted with the intense smell of the town's sludge flowing into the sea, and busy fishermen screaming their lungs out auctioning off their day’s catch of sea fish in all shapes and sizes.

  • That sweet Dhaka air

    I tried breathing in Dhaka and honestly, if you haven't tried it yourself, I can't recommend it to you. It's a waste of your time—simply the worst.

  • Phulbari Movement of 2006: Where we stand now

    "This success is the first step towards victory. And all the credit must go to the brave people of Phulbari,” said Engineer Shekih Muhammand Shahidullah, Convener of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Ports, and Power, to the thousands gathered on the streets of Phulbari, Dinajpur

  • Sundarbans robber gangs surrendered

    Declaring war against the Sundarbans?

    The GoB has given its go-ahead to 320 polluting industrial projects adjacent to the Sundarbans.

  • Did UNESCO really “endorse” Rampal coal plant?

    A draft resolution adopted as amended by the 41st Session of the UNESCO Heritage Committee contradicts the claim made by the foreign ministry that the Committee “endorsed” the construction of a coal-based power plant at Rampal near the Sundarbans.

  • What happens to our e-waste?

    What do you do with the damaged battery or chargers of your cell phone? Where do you keep your fused bulbs and abandoned switches? What about obsolete computer accessories?

  • Is the polythene ban an eye-wash?

    Fifteen years after the polythene bag ban, poly bags are still ruling our markets. But who are producing and distributing these non-biodegradable bags?

  • The historic movement to save Sundarbans

    For the first time in history, Bangladesh is experiencing a mass movement to save a forest – the largest mangrove in the world.

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