Greens lament cut in allocation for environment

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Tk 1,246 crore has been allocated for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change in the proposed budget for the fiscal 2020-21, which is Tk 1,495 crore in the budget for current year.

In the revised FY 2019-2020, the allocation was, however, dropped down to Tk 1,076 crore, the budget document shows.

While placing the budget at parliament on Thursday, finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said, ‘We are addressing issues, such as environmental protection, pollution control, protection of biodiversity and combatting the adverse effects of climate change, by implementing the National Environment Policy 2018.’

Of the total allocation of the ministry, he proposed Tk 648 crore for operations expenditure and Tk 599 for development.

The environmentalists term the allocation of only 0.22 per cent of Tk 5.68 lakh crore budget frustrating and a reflection of the government’s not realisation of the impact of the environment on the public life, economy and sustainable development.

‘How the government allocated such poor amount when Bangladesh has the world’s dirtiest air and numerous researches have shown that areas with air pollution have greater cases of coronavirus infection than areas with clean air,’ Dhaka University chemistry professor Abdus Salam said.

Environmental pollution causes Bangladesh to lose three to five per cent of its GDP every year, he said.

Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan general secretary Sharif Jamil said that all countries were increasing allocation for mitigating the climate change and environment issues considering food and health of their citizens at a time when natural disasters were occurring frequently and the earth was facing attacks of new types of viruses.

Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association chief executive Syeda Rizwana Hasan demanded review of the allocation at a time, when the government was going to implement a plan to close all conventional brick kilns by June 2025.

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