A person involved in ship-breaking business would face punishment of up to 10 years' imprisonment and a fine of maximum Tk10 lakh for polluting environment or causing health hazard, said a new provision included in the environment protection law.
The parliament passed a bill yesterday incorporating some other stringent provisions in the Bangladesh Environment Protection Act 1995 to prevent environmental disaster and expedite the government activities in this regard.
State Minister for Environment and Forest Hasan Mahmud proposed passage of the bill. It also included provisions for increasing punishment for various offences causing environment pollution.
An owner of ship-breaking yard, importer and owner of ship will be bound to ensure that environment will not be polluted and public health will not face any threat due to cutting of ships or through its hazardous wastage, according to the new provision.
If anybody violates the provision for the first time, he will be punished with up to two years' in jail or a fine of minimum Tk2 lakh or both. For violating the law for the second time and onwards, he will be punished with up to 10 years' in jail and a fine of maximum Tk10 lakh or both.
An amendment to the environment law empowers the government to control production, processing, stockpiling, supplying, transporting, importing, exporting, dumping and disposal of wastage hazardous to environment.
People responsible for violating this provision might be punished with up to 10 years' in jail or a fine of maximum Tk10 lakh or both.
According to provisions of the amended law, any individual responsible for cutting hills and grabbing water bodies will also have to face harsh punishment including jail for different terms.
The amended law empowers people and community, affected by environment pollution, to file cases with the environment court against any companies or organisation responsible for the pollution seeking compensation for the damage.
The director general of the Directorate of Environment can file case on behalf of the affected people or community.
An amendment to the environment law also made it mandatory to take environment clearance certificate from the environment directorate before setting up any industry or implementing any project.
Industries established before the introduction of new provision will also have to take environment clearance certificate.
The amended law also allows the government to declare any area as ecologically critical, considering its environmental importance and biodiversity, to protect the area.
Meanwhile, the parliament passed another bill amending non-government primary teachers' Welfare Trust Act 2000. Primary and Mass Education Minister Afsarul Amin proposed passage of the bill.