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Bangladesh Church to promote, protect environment

The South Asian nation ranks 177th out of 180 countries in this year's Global Environmental Performance Index

Heavy rainfall led to floods last month in northeastern parts of Bangladesh, which has ranked poorly in the Global Environmental Performance Index this year

Heavy rainfall led to floods last month in northeastern parts of Bangladesh, which has ranked poorly in the Global Environmental Performance Index this year. (Photo: Stephan Uttom/UCA News)

Published: June 16, 2022 08:24 AM GMT

Updated: June 16, 2022 09:30 AM GMT

The Church in Bangladesh will be emphasizing environmental protection through education and awareness programs among all sections of society in the coming years.

“We have been creating environmental awareness through homilies in every church every month, setting up ecological clubs in Catholic schools and colleges, besides planting trees in yards,” Holy Cross Father Liton Hubert Gomes, secretary of the Catholic bishops' Justice and Peace Commission, told UCA News.

While observing Laudato Si' Week last month, the commission prepared an action plan for 2022-27 laying stress on environmental education, awareness programs and promoting an environment-friendly economy.

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“We will sit down with government policymakers because we have laws but they are not implemented,” Father Gomes said.

The priest said the government talks about environmental protection but does little else but plant trees. “It does not see the air, water pollution or destruction of natural forests,” he said.

Preserving the environment is difficult when powerful people in the government also own big factories that pollute the air, water and soil, he added.

“Violating environmental protection laws and regulations invites strict legal action including lawsuits being filed in environmental courts. Mobile courts were established to deal with polluting vehicles”

Bangladesh finds itself among the bottom four countries when it comes to curbing environmental pollution, according to this year's Global Environmental Performance Index.

The country is ranked 177th in a list of 180 nations that were judged for their national efforts to protect environmental health, enhance ecosystem vitality and mitigate climate change.

Masud Hasan, a deputy secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, claimed Bangladesh was adopting stricter measures to curb existing and upcoming polluting industrial establishments and vehicles.

“Violating environmental protection laws and regulations invites strict legal action including lawsuits being filed in environmental courts. Mobile courts were established to deal with polluting vehicles,” Hasan told UCA News.

Three courts in Bangladesh deal with environmental protection cases but their activities are not very noticeable. With the indifference of the government, it is not possible to prevent environmental pollution, said Shawkat Ali, an environmental lawyer.

Between 2015 and 2020, more than 7,000 cases were filed in the mobile courts. “If the courts do not settle the cases in time, then those who are polluting the environment will take it lightly. The government needs to take drastic action,” said Ali.

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