Formulate comprehensive environmental law
Speakers at a roundtable yesterday called for formulating a comprehensive environmental law in order to protect the environment.
They also called for setting up a monitoring cell to strictly enforcing the existing environmental laws and raising awareness among the people about conservation of nature.
Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (Bapa) and Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust organised the discussion on 'Role of law in protecting the environment' at the National Press Club.
One of the major problems is that common people cannot directly file a case against the polluters of the environment under the existing laws, Dr Shahdeen Malik said, adding that they need to approach the directorate of environment to file the case.
He also suggested increasing the number of environmental courts in the country, saying that there are only three such courts, one each in Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet.
Prof Muzaffer Ahmad said the government should have a master plan and a comprehensive law to protect the environment.
Sheikh Hafizur Rahman Curzon of Dhaka University said there are 200 environment-related laws, but they do not address the environmental issues in a holistic way.
Implementation of laws as well as political will of the government are important to address the environmental issues, the speakers said.
Presenting the keynote paper, Syed Mahbubul Alam of WBB Trust said there is a lack of coordination among the law enforcement agencies and that it is important to build the capacity of the institutions to implement the laws.
Former adviser to the caretaker government ASM Shahjahan, engineer Mohammad Mohsin Ali, Kazi Mohammad Shish, Advocate Iqbal Kabir, Syed ANM Wahed, Dr Mohammad Abdul Matin and Shirajul Islam Molla also spoke.