February 12, 2010

The development and environment conflict

The conflict between development and environment still remains unresolved. Industrial revolution in the 1780s, Green revolution in the 1960s gave great prosperity to humankind but snatched away many things of importance and in some cases caused irreversible damages. England first had the industrial revolution and Edwin Chadwick in 1842, 70 years after the industrial revolution submitted the world's first famous report on water pollution to the British Parliament. Following the start of Green revolution, Silent Spring published by Ms. Rachel Carson indicated the toxicity of insecticides such as DDT in 1962.
The industrial revolution and its deep connection with strongly infectious diseases such as Cholera and Dysentery gave birth to “Public Health Act (1848)” in England. In 1911, H A Volux submitted the first report in the world on the disaster of air pollution titled “The Disaster Caused by Dust and Fog in Glasgow, Scotland (estimated death toll: 1063)”. Los Angeles Smog (1951), London Smog (1952) caused death of 400 and 4000 persons respectively. Minamata disease due to water pollution by organic mercury (Hg) in Kumamoto around 1959, Yokkaichi asthma (due to air pollution) around 1972, water pollution in Dokai Bay (Sea of Death) in the 1960s and loss of fisheries are some noted events in Japan. Still there are victims of Hg pollution.

Environmental problems of today are of complex character as industrialization has been diversified in quality and by regions. Environmental pollution depends on various factors like type of industry, raw materials, production technologies, location of industries, etc. For a particular type of industry, change in energy source e.g. shifting from coal to petrol/diesel, and raw materials as well, caused significant change in types of diseases as well as magnitude of damages.
Even before becoming industrial powers, the industrialised nations caused a variety of environmental problems. They are still confronting with serious environmental issues of water, food and air pollution. Some of them have been solved by the application of engineering techniques or by imposing legal constraints, while others still remain untouched or unresolved. They are now thinking of striking a balance between industrial development and environmental problems.
Despite the fact of environmental problems, still many countries are promoting industrialization to secure employment for the population and other developmental factors characteristic of the country. Bangladesh is no exception to this. Bangladesh faces serious problems of overpopulation, extreme poverty, illiteracy and environmental pollution. Over the decades, she has undergone processes of environmental degradation with natural resources depletion at a faster rate. All those factors combine to multiply the scale of socio-economic setbacks, imposed by recurring natural disasters, often of exceptional magnitude.
Environmental problems
Till 1962 the number of industries in Dhaka was about 100, most of them of small to medium scale and located mostly in present old Dhaka area. Establishment of so many industries started mostly after independence. The important industries in the country are textile & dyeing, leather, paper and pulp, fertilizer, sugar, steel, oil refining, chemical and pharmaceuticals and other small scale agro-based and agro-allied industries and of course the readymade garments.
Bangladesh is basically an agrarian country. The government of Bangladesh promotes rapid industrial development to increase export earnings and employment opportunity for the growing population and to relieve pressure on the available agricultural lands. But present performance of the industrial sector is disappointing with enormous environmental problems due to inferior technology, lack of treatment facilities of industrial waste, etc. The growth of industries has generally been unplanned without keeping the issue of environmental protection in careful consideration.
In 1986, DoE identified 903 industries as most polluting that swelled to 1176 in 1997. Currently the list of polluting industries is expected to be much longer. Many industries are located on the banks of natural streams or rivers while many others in the residential areas causing air and water pollution through smoke emission and dumping of untreated effluent. Monitoring results by the Department of Environment (DoE) and other research organizations indicated alarming level of the localised air and water pollution by those industries. The condition of Buriganga, Balu, Turag, Shitalakshya, Karnafuli, Bhairab rivers is a glaring example of deteriorating environment.
Additionally, though not well documented, the use of agrochemicals has significant contribution to water pollution. Commercial marketing of pesticides in Bangladesh began in 1956 with 03 tons that increased to 37,712.20MT in 2007. From 1960 onward, green revolution accompanied by HYV crops, high dose of chemical fertilizers and pesticides subsequently brought stagnation in yield of crops. Improper and increased use of agrochemicals, disposal of industrial waste into water bodies contributed to fisheries habitat degradation. During the last decade the country has lost at least 24 species of inland fishes. The residual effects of agrochemicals hit the aquatic organisms and ultimately affect human health through food chain.


Subscribe to RSS Feed or Get update via Email

No comments:

Post a Comment