Expressing dissatisfaction with the air and environment pollution in Dhaka, the High Court yesterday directed the Department of Environment (DoE) to submit a report on what steps the organisation has taken to curb pollution.
While hearing a writ petition, the court ordered Md Ziaul Haque, director (air quality management) of DoE, to appear before it on April 10 with the report -- explaining DoE's steps and plan for tackling pollution.
The HC also asked both Dhaka north and south city corporations to place a report before it on their steps taken to address air pollution in the capital.
The court said environment and air pollution are rampant in places of Dhaka where construction work of metro rail and elevated expressway are underway, but steps for preventing pollution are not adequate.
“We need metro rail and elevated expressway. At the same time, prevention of air and environment pollution is very urgent. Pollution must be tackled to protect our children,” said the HC bench of Justice Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader.
At the hearing, petitioner's lawyer Advocate Manzill Murshid produced a report published by The Daily Star on March 6, with the headline “Living in toxic air”.
The Daily Star report says Bangladesh has the most polluted air in the world and Dhaka is the second most polluted capital city, as per a new study.
Bangladesh, one of the most densely-populated countries in the world, has been struggling with air pollution for long. Dhaka, the country's capital, often finds its place among the most polluted cities in global indices, it said, adding that brick kilns and vehicles running on fuel with higher level of sulfur have been identified as the major sources of air pollution in the country.
But the director (air quality management) of DoE claimed there was confusion in the report which placed Bangladesh at the top in the country category.
“The average air quality of Dhaka and Bangladesh are different. The air in rural areas and other districts is much healthier than in Dhaka,” he said.
Citing The Daily Star report, Advocate Manzill Murshid told the court that the DoE and the city corporations have not taken appropriate measures to prevent pollution in the capital, although the court had earlier issued some directives regarding this issue.
Earlier in the day, the DoE and city corporations placed two separate reports before the HC in line with its January 28 order.
In the report, the DoE said it has conducted mobile courts against persons responsible for air pollution. But the court said the DoE's action is inadequate.
The city corporation authorities have been asked to submit further report after complying with its January 28 order.