A total of 190 industries and factories have been set up within 10 kilometres of the Sundarbans, says a report of the Department of Environment (DoE) submitted to the High Court (HC) today.
Of them, a total of 24 industries and factories are under red category which are risky for the environment of Sundarbans, Deputy Attorney General Motaher Hossain Sazu told The Daily Star citing from the DoE report.
Of the industries and factories, 181 have environmental clearance certificates and the rest nine have site clearance certificates, the DoE said in the report.
Operations of 36 industries and factories are now remaining closed and 154 are running their operations, the report said.
After receiving the report, the HC bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal fixed May 9 for passing further order on this issue.
Following a writ petition, the HC on August 24 last year directed the government not to approve any industry within 10 kilometres of the Sundarbans and to submit a list of the establishments already built within the 10 kilometres of the mangrove forest before the court.
The HC bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice JBM Hassan had passed the order following a writ petition filed by Sheikh Faridul Islam, president of Save the Sundarbans Foundation.
Faridul had submitted the petition seeking HC directives on the authorities concerned to relocate factories constructed within the 10kms of the world's largest mangrove forest.
In the petition, he said the environment and forest ministry issued a gazette notification on August 30 in 1999, declaring the 10-km zone an ecologically critical area (ECA).
Earlier in a meeting of the National Environment Committee, it was decided that the ministry would approve all the factories currently operating in the ECA.
Currently, the Bangladesh Environment Conservation (amendment) Act, 2010 prohibits permitting any factory within the area.
The national environment committee meeting also decided to relax and change some rules and policies to allow the factories that could be potentially risky for the environment, said the petition.