Bangladesh

Air pollution in Dhaka very alarming: HC

The High Court yesterday observed that the present air pollution level in Dhaka was very alarming for all and the people's right to life, one of their fundamental rights, might be compromised if the pollution could not be controlled right now.

The court ordered the authorities concerned of the government to implement its January 13 directives and submit a report to it in 30 days after complying with the directives.

The HC bench of Justice Md Ashfaqul Islam and Justice Mohammad Ali came up with the observation and order after clippings of some newspaper reports on air pollution in Dhaka were placed before it during the hearing on a writ petition.

On January 13, another HC bench issued some directives to the government to reduce air pollution in and around the capital and also ordered the Department of Environment to shut the rest of the illegal brick kilns in five districts, including Dhaka.

During hearing of the same writ petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB), the HC bench, led by Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan, had asked the authorities to seize those vehicles which were emitting black smoke beyond permissible limit in Dhaka city.

The court in its directives had said appropriate steps should be taken to stop burning of tyres and recycling of vehicles' batteries without the approval from the DoE.

It asked the authorities to take steps to ensure that all market owners or shopkeepers keep their daily waste in a safe trash bin. The waste must be dumped in the designated areas before the closure of shops or markets.

The HC bench banned plying of particular vehicles, whose economic life has expired, on roads in the capital.

It ordered the government to ensure road construction or carpeting or excavation works by strictly complying with the related laws and rules and also with the terms and conditions of tenders to make sure that air remains clean.

The court said the government must ensure that trucks carrying mud or waste in the capital have those covered.

It also instructed contractors to use bags or sacks for storing or keeping sand or mud at the city's construction sites so that air is not polluted.

The court further ordered the authorities to take steps to sprinkle water at construction sites in the morning and evening every day.

Earlier on January 12, the Department of Environment (DoE) submitted a report to the HC stating that it has shut 349 illegal brick kilns, which have no environment clearance certificates, out of 559 in Dhaka, Narayanganj, Gazipur, Munshiganj and Manikganj in line with its earlier directive.

The DoE said the brick kilns were closed through operating mobile courts and issuing notices. Besides, it realised fines of Tk 4.93 crore from the owners of the brick kilns, and the drives were going on.

Yesterday, writ petitioner's lawyer Manzill Murshid placed clippings of newspaper reports on air pollution before the HC bench, led by Justice Ashfaqul Islam, and prayed for necessary orders to this effect.

Lawyer Amatul Karim appeared for the DoE, while Deputy Attorney General Abdullah Al Mahmud Bashar represented the state during hearing on the matter yesterday.

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