Environment | The Daily Star
  • When teens of the world unite for Planet Earth

    Just a day after teenagers around the world skipped classes and gathered on the streets of Dhaka, Warwick, Hamburg, London, and

  • Mangrove Forest Sundarbans

    Was that you Akela?

    In Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, a series of short fables published in 1894, Akela and Raksha were the wolf parents of Mowgli,

  • Can our mangroves survive the impulse to industrialise?

    On August 24, 2017, the High Court directed the Bangladesh government not to approve any industry activity within 10 kilometres of the Sundarbans area.

  • The dust-laden air of Dhaka

    We all know Dhaka's air is bad. Yet it is never more visible than now, in the drier months of the year. This is only compounded by the constant construction that unfolds across the city, not least the metro that is being developed to ease congestion and pollution on the roads.

  • The Vanishing Fishermen of Teesta

    “In the last 15 years, I had to change homes 11 times. During every monsoon, Teesta swallows my residence and most of my belongings.

  • Technology at Tanguar Haor

    It took three separate modes of transportation, a major fight between a bus driver and his helper, and a sleepless night before I managed to reach the foothills of Meghalaya to witness conservation and technology merge and in turn, make history for Bangladesh.

  • The water business in the south west of Bangladesh

    There is a district in the south-west of Bangladesh which is at the epicentre of a drinking water crisis. A crisis that is being exacerbated everyday owing to the realities of climate change.

  • Putting a price tag on climate change

    The reality of climate change and energy policy are at odds in Bangladesh. The delta resides on low, arable land and is accordingly, highly susceptible to climate change.

  • The water benders of Satkhira

    The first time I visited Satkhira, the tide country, was as a student of Environmental Science. And I remember returning with pages upon pages of focus group discussions with villagers who were living in homes that had been cut off from nearly everything because of water-logging. They talked of a life constantly battling a disaster.

  • Let the rivers run wild

    To this day, there is that one Bangla poem that I cannot but help start reciting in my head if I find anyone saying the words Choto Nodi.

  • A conservation effort spanning borders

    Why does the Spoon-billed sandpiper, a tiny sparrow-sized bird, migrate all the way from Chukotka, Russia to a mudflat of Bangladesh?

  • The dangerous half degree

    A new report published last week by the United Nation's Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an organisation consisting of leading climate scientists from all over the world, has warned that by 2030, the earth's temperature is expected to witness an increase by at least half a degree.

  • Stuck in-between a “Corridor and a Camp”

    It is the Bangladesh-Myanmar border; the calm of the forest is broken by piercing sounds of gunfire and screams. Everywhere, people are on the run and she too trudges on, heavy, weary steps one at a time, trying to find refuge. She eventually makes it to the forests of Bangladesh only to be stuck indefinitely.


    Over the last two centuries, humans have caused irreparable damage to the environment. Forests, rivers, hills, and seas have turned upside down and species displaced for food and shelter.

  • Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant

    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

  • 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.


    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.

  • 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 coal mine


    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.