Environmental Laws in Bangladesh

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1.INTRODUCTION

Bangladesh is one of the least developed countries with a low resource base, a burgeoning population with a very low land-man ratio, often threatened by both natural & anthropogenic stresses. The vast majority of the population lives almost exclusively on the natural resource base. This resource base is under serious threat and environmental planning is essential for the survival with dignity for Bangladesh’s over 115 million people & for sustainability of the echo system. Like all other nations of the world Bangladesh also acted to the global call for the protection and conservation of natural environment & ecology. Industrial development significantly contributes towards economic growth of a country. It brings along with it a host of environmental problem too. It is increasingly being recognized in Bangladesh as in other part of the world that for development to be meaningful & sustainable over a longer period environmental concern must be integrated into all development policies.

Integrating environment in all development activities and achieving environmentally sound development planning has immerged as the greatest challenge to the dominant development paradigms all over the world and becomes a more formidable challenge countries such as Bangladesh with resource constraints inherent geomorphologic instabilities along with its vulnerability to natural disaster.

Any planning effort must be for the people as there the users of environmental resources in the final analysis. The constitution of Bangladesh begins its preamble, “ We, the people oh Bangladesh having proclaimed our independence…” .In article 7(1) of the preamble, the constitution proclaims “ All powers in the republic belong to the people, and their exercise on behalf of the people shall be effective only under, and by the authority of this constitution.

The Govt. of Bangladesh through its ministry of environment & forest decided to undertake the national environment management action plan involving a people consultation process as a first step towards drafting environmental laws to regulate the industrial and other ventures which may become a threat to the environment.

Attraction of sophisticated and high yielding technologies has over powered rationality in many instances, as consciousness for environment was yet to develop among governmental organizations and citizens’ group. The level of effort that went into environmental regulations remains very low. The public sector have been struggling with age old unenforsed laws having traditional institutional feudalism in place. To reverse wheel for arresting such trained was not an easy job for Bangladesh. The Govt. started to take measures drafted the national conservation strategy adopted the national environment policy, 1992 and revised the old law by enacting the Bangladesh environment conservation act, 1995. Also restructured the dept. of environment and eventually prepared the national environment management action plan.

A research in the regulatory regime shows that there are about 185 laws which have bearing on environment directly, indirectly and casually. These laws provide for measures relevant for environment conservation, offer protection against various environment offences and by prescribing or prohibiting certain activities, by down rights and duties. A great bulk of these environmental legislation were existent in the country right from the nineteenth century although they remained either unenforced to a large extent due to several factors or vaguely known to the responsible public agencies. The traditional practices prevailing in the legal regime were no much conducive to reading the law with new ideas like environmental protection or conservation of resources etc. Moreover, lack of consciousness amongst the implementers and the general public as to the very existence and scope of these laws rendered them ineffective functionally. Some laws have also become...
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