The unchecked discharge of dust from the under-construction Malibagh-Moghbazar flyover, metro rail project, road repair, installation of utility companies digging roads, drain development and other construction works have apparently turned the Dhaka City into a big pollution pocket, observe green activists. The situation has taken a turn for the worse in the capital’s Shantinagar, Mouchak, Malibagh, Moghbazar and Hajipara areas with thick cloud of dust making the commuters’ life miserable and posing a serious risk to their health. Experts say it is only during monsoon that the city dwellers will have some relief from the dust when it will get settled down, but it will push up again when there will be no rain. Health experts say people exposed to air polluting particles, including cement and sand, risk suffering from various diseases like cardiovascular, emphysema, bronchitis and asthma, even lung cancer and disorder in urinary track. Environment lawyers and activists believe that living in a healthy environment is a constitutional right, for the violation of which any ‘victim’ and ‘aggrieved’ citizen or any institution can sue any responsible person or company seeking compensation or remedial measures.
When contacted, chief executive of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) Syeda Rizwana Hasan said every construction farm has to sign an agreement with the government that it implements any development project without polluting or harming the environment. She said the residents of Shantinagar, Malibagh, Mouchak, Moghbazar and adjacent areas are being subjected to serious environment pollution as the company responsible for constructing the flyover is least bothered about protecting the environment, violating their contract with the government. Rizwana also added that the construction farm of the Moghbazar- Mouchak flyover is seriously violating human rights and people’s constitutional rights for which any victim and aggrieved citizen or any institution can sue the company and the government seeking compensation or an end to the pollution. Work for a Better Bangladesh (WBB) Trust director advocate Syed Mahbubul Alam said any victim or aggrieved institution can also lodge a complaint with the Department of Environment (DoE) against the company for polluting the environment. “Any victim can seek compensation. If the DoE fails to take any action in this regard, then a case can be filed with the Environment Court.”
Poribesh Bachao Andolon (Poba) chairman Abu Naser Khan said as per their study people along Moghbazar-Mouchak flyover are seriously suffering from various diseases, mainly respiratory ones, for the serious dust pollution in the areas. Dr. Mahfuzur Rahman Bhuiyan, a former national consultant at World Health Organization, said the number of patients suffering from respiratory diseases such as emphysema, bronchitis and asthma is increasing in the capital as concentration of dust particles in the air is on the rise day by day.