“Refugees and Neighbors: Rohingya migration crisis and the Bangladesh experience”

Suma Haque

Most of the constitution of the neighboring countries of Bangladesh have incorporated human rights as fundamental rights. There is a well developed and upward body of jurisprudence on constitutional rights in such countries. Many neighboring countries have rectified or acceded to human rights treaties but the existing state of upbringing by these countries with such international human rights standards is not adequate. International Law of Refugees is a twig of International Human Rights Law. International refugee law mainly comprises of international apparatus that define basic standards for treatment of refugee. Now one of the most labored challenges confronting the world that is the problem of refugees, migrants, stateless persons and internally displaced persons.

The Rohingyas, a stateless tribal group loathe by many of Myanmar’s Buddhist majority, were strained to leave their homes since a Crimson crushing by the army in their home state of Rakhine. They are both stateless and refugees. The 1951 Refugee Convention defends refugees. It defines a refugee as an individual who is outside his or her country of nationality, has a well- founded anxiety of being persecuted because of religion, nationality, membership of a particular ethnic group and is not willing to avail him of the shelter of that country for fear of persecution. People who carry through this definition are eligible to the rights and bound by the duties contained in the 1951 Convention. The refusal of citizenship rights, denial of freedom of movement, expulsion campaigns, violence and physical agony imparted to the making of the Rohingya stateless and refugees.

Protecting refugees is the special obligation of States. Countries that have signed the 1951 Convention is obliged to protect refugees on their territory and treat them according to internationally recognized standards. Bangladesh cannot refuse to admit the Rohingya refugees seeking protection, though Bangladesh has not signed the 1951 convention. Because the principle of nonrefoulement forbid the return of a refugee to a territory where his life is vulnerable. This principle is binding to all States whether they have acceded to the 1951 Convention or 1967 Protocol.

To figure out the issue of Rohingya refugees these are not plain tasks. The case of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh is one of the most tangled refugee situations in the world has been containing for more than three decades. It seems that Myanmar has acknowledged the persecution of its stateless Muslim minority and is considering giving citizenship to thousands of members of the group as a first step to finding a solution to the conflict with local  Rohingya Buddhists. A perdurable status for refugee is one of the ends the rhythm of displacement by resolving their pledge so that they can lead standard lives. The Traditionally, three stable solutions has been practiced to ending refugee crisis. The focuses on three aspects for the existing Rohingya-

  1. voluntary repatriation
  2. local integration
  3. resettlement.

The refugees are currently living in Bangladeshi camps but they may be moved to Thengar Char Island, which remains underwater for much of the year. It will be “terrible and crazy”. The government of Bangladesh may take an initiative to adopt a specific charter on human rights at the inter-governmental level to create a regional mechanism. This regional mechanism can address widespread human rights issues and concerns and provide remedies for cross border human rights violation. Establishment of such a mechanism can lead to greater harmonization and unification of human rights laws of the region, which can ultimately contribute much towards the goal of South Asian cooperation.

Suma Haque is a final year Law student of South East University, Dhaka, Bangladesh. She can be reached at Sumahaquesu@gmail.com

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‘Importance of Memorialization in response to the aftermath of Bangladesh Liberation War 1971’

Mustak Ahmed Shimul

Memorialization, in general, refers to the method of conserving memories of people and incident. Memorialization is an ideal opportunity for us to show our appreciation for those who were prepared to sacrifice their lives for their country. Memorialization is used to honor the victims of human rights abuses and it ensures transitional justice. The importance of memorialization in post conflict society is necessary. Within this global context, remembering is a way to continue the struggle against forces of bigotry, dogmatism, hatred, and violence. Memorialization is an ongoing process, one of learning that can open up many narratives and should have room for many personal perspectives.

The history of memorialization in Bangladesh begins from the Language Movement in 1952 and finally get motion in the climactic event of Liberation War in 1971, through which Bangladesh was liberated.Rayerbazaar Boddhobhumi was fabricated to memorialize the death of many of the countries shrewd intellectuals, who were killed by the Pakistani military services. The Memorial was planned by designer Farid Uddin Ahmed and architect Zami Al Shafi. National Martyrs’ Memorial located at Savar, symbolizes the heroism of the martyrs who dedicated their lives for the liberation of Bangladesh.

Memorialization also includes Roads, e.g. Bir Uttam Shaheed Khaza Nizam Uddin Bhuiyan. Trophy, e.g. Birshreshto Matiur Rahman trophy named after Birshreshto Matiur Rahman is awarded for the top-grade Individual Research Paper of Air Wing in Defense Services Command and Staff College. Museum, e.g. Liberation War Museum. Books e.g. Shahzaman Mozumder’s The Guerrilla: A Personal Memorandum of 1971. We have a couple of books written by participating fighter. These books are also the part of memorialization.

Memorialization process is going on in different countries. The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum is a museum in the capital of Cambodia, put down the Cambodian genocide. In Rwanda, there are eight killing memorials which containing the memories of Genocide war of 1994.

Only memorialization is not the means to conserving the memories rather its uses in practical life can play an indispensable role. Publicity of memorialization by the institution is extremely essential. A basal component for successful memorialization is the collaboration between the authorities, citizens and civil society, especially representatives of those directly affected by past events. Memorialization processes should be centered on the victims and designed to empower them.

Mustak Ahmed Shimul is a student of  Department of Law, South-East University. He can be reached at shimulahmed52@gmail.com.

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Frugality: Saving Resources

arushi-madan

Frugality has helped a couple in the United States raise 13 children, own a 7-bedroom house, and 15-passenger van — completely debt free. But some say frugal living demands too many cutbacks on daily expenses, to the point of reducing the quality of life. Others say its benefits go beyond saving. I am of the opinion that frugality is not giving up fun, it is just making careful choices regarding purchases and saying NO to wastage of any kind. In a world where the culture of consumerism is flourishing, choosing a frugal lifestyle can sometimes mean living as an outcast. People may say you’re cheap or tight. My family and I have been living a frugal lifestyle, and we have realized that there are more benefits to frugality than what meets the eye. Frugality doesn’t just benefit people; it benefits our planet too. By making fewer purchases and consuming less, we positively impact the environment in a number of ways. Reusing and recycling old items means less trash in landfills, less energy used for production, packaging, and shipping. And buying a cheap, fuel-efficient used car (or ditching it altogether in favor of a bike or public transportation) helps reduce pollution and greenhouse gases. The bottom line: Being frugal means consuming fewer of the planet’s resources.

The frugal life is always the environmentally friendly life. Nearly every frugal strategy doubles as an environmental boon: driving less, rarely buying new things, not wasting food, using our heat and A/C sparingly – it’s all connected. Frugality is good for humanity too. It means being less wasteful with our already scarce resources. And when we make a commitment to wasting less in general, we’re reducing our carbon footprint and freeing up resources for others who might desperately need them.

Though frugal people are trying hard to make things they do have last longer, they don’t have to spend time shopping around for something new – like spending quality time with family, cultivating a new hobby, or simply relaxing. Frugality isn’t a tactic; it’s a mindset and a joyful lifestyle. Frugality isn’t a sacrifice; it’s a means to an end. Frugality is a positive principle to promote sustainable development.

Let’s look at food wastage. Food waste is a social crime. Food wasted is a food stolen from the hungry stomach. Food wastage is not only the wastage of food per say(disgrace to food too) but also wastage of all energy and other resources which have gone into producing it. I have seen people visiting restaurant and over-ordering which eventually they can’t finish and they leave it as waste. We should start ordering from small quantity and later depending on our appetite, we can order more, also we should not feel shy in getting the left-over packed & brought to home so that we can eat it later rather than wasting it.  The huge amount of food wasted at social gatherings contrasts sharply with the food shortages, often bordering on chronic starvation, faced by millions of poor.In most of the weddings, families are staging extravagant displays of food. The prodigious waste that follows is horrible. About one-fifth of the food served at weddings and social gatherings is discarded. It’s a criminal waste.For example, around 100,000 weddings and social events are held in India every day. Food wasted each day at weddings and family functions in Mumbai (India) alone would be enough to feed the city’s vast slum population.

Food wastage: Key facts and figures

  • The global volume of food wastage is estimated at 1.6 billion tons of “primary product equivalents.” Total food wastage for the edible part of this amounts to 1.3 billion tons.
  • Food wastage’s carbon footprint is estimated about 3.3 billion tons of CO2 equivalent of GHG released into the atmosphere per year.
  • The total amount of water used per year to produce food that is wasted is equivalent to the annual flow of Russia’s Volga River, or three times the volume of Lake Geneva.
  • 4 billion hectares of land – 28 percent of the world’s agricultural area – is used annually to produce food that is lost or wasted.
  • Agriculture is responsible for a majority of threats to at-risk plant and animal species tracked by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  • A low percentage of all food wastage is composted: much of it ends up in landfills and represents a large part of the municipal solid waste. Methane emissions from landfills represent one of the largest sources of GHG emissions from the waste sector.
  • Home composting can potentially divert up to 150 kg of food waste per household per year from local collection authorities.
  • Developing countries suffer more food losses during agricultural production, while in middle- and high-income regions, food waste at the retail and consumer level tends to be higher.
  • The direct economic consequences of food wastage (excluding fish and seafood) run to the tune of $750 billion annually.

Arushi Madan is a student of Electronic & Electrical Engineering of University of Birmingham, UK. She is an environmental activist and working on different climate issues and creating awareness to reduce environmental pollution. Besides she has been working as a Regional Ambassador of Tunza Eco- Generation.

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Pollution Vs Child Health: Which Environment for Future?

Nusrat fatemee

Environmental pollution can be simply, if somewhat in general, defined as  the  existence  in  the  environment  of  an  agent  which  is  potentially detrimental to either the environment or human health. Statistical studies reveal that environmental risks take their utmost toll on children. According to a report of World Health Organization (WHO) published on 6 March 2017, unhealthy environment is the reason behind More than 1 in 4 deaths of children under 5 years of age. Another two new WHO reports state awful information that each year, environmental risks like indoor and outdoor air pollution, second-hand smoke, unsafe water, lack of sanitation, and inadequate hygiene take the lives of 1.7 million children under 5 years. The first report, Inheriting a Sustainable World: Atlas on Children’s Health and the Environment reveals that a huge segment of the most frequent reasons of death among children aged 1 month to 5 years are diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia which can be prevented by interventions acknowledged to diminish environmental risks, such as access to safe water and clean cooking fuels. Detrimental exposures can start even in the mother’s wombs that clearly boost the risk of premature birth. Furthermore, when infants and pre-school goings are exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollution and second-hand smoke they are also exposed to an augmented risk of pneumonia in childhood at the same time along with increased risk of chronic respiratory diseases as asthma. Exposure to air pollution may also amplify their lifelong danger of heart disease, stroke and cancer. “A polluted environment is a deadly one – particularly for young children,” says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water.”

A companion report, don’t pollute my future! The impact of the environment on children’s health provides an inclusive summary of the environment’s impact on children’s health, illustrating the scale of the challenge which is very much alarming and reveals that most of the reasons of child death are directly and indirectly linked to environmental pollution. According to the report-

  • 570,000 children under 5 years expire from respiratory infections, every year such as pneumonia, attributable to indoor and outdoor air pollution, and second-hand smoke.
  • Every year 361 000 children under 5 years die because of diarrhea, as a result of poor access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene.
  • 270,000 children die every year during their first month of life from conditions, including prematurity, which could be prevented through access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene in health facilities as well as reducing air pollution.
  • Malaria is responsible for 200,000 deaths of children under 5 years each year which could be prevented through environmental measures, for instance reducing breeding sites of mosquitoes or covering drinking-water storage.
  • 200,000 children under 5 years every year die from unintentional injuries attributable to the environment, such as poisoning, falls, and drowning.

Apart from the direct sufferings children are also exposed to dangerous chemicals in the course of food, water, air and products around them. Fluoride, lead and mercury pesticides like chemicals which are widely used in industries, persistent organic pollutants, and others in manufactured goods, ultimately find their way into the food chain. Another name in the list of harmful contaminant is electronic and electrical waste. The production of electronic and electrical waste is forecasted to increase by 19% between 2014 and 2018, to 50 million metric tons by 2018 which is actually a threat for environment as well as child health. Electronic and electrical waste like old mobile phones that is inappropriately recycled can show the way to reduced intelligence, attention deficits, lung damage, and cancer in children if they get exposed to it.

Unfortunately even in house children cannot be said as free from the hazards pollution. Due to the lack of proper sanitation and safe water which are actually basic needs for living children are at an augmented risk of disease like diarrhea. Another reason is the access of smoky materials specially use of unclean fuels, such as coal or dung for cooking and heating, children are at an increased risk of  pneumonia.

Now if we consider the whole scenario of environmental pollution in a nutshell it can be said that along with climate change temperatures and levels of carbon dioxide are going up which results in pollen intensification and the consequence is increased rates of asthma in children .Statistical reports state that worldwide, 11–14% of children aged 5 years and older at present report asthma symptoms and it is shocking that 44% of these are associated with environmental exposures. Air pollution, second-hand tobacco smoke, and indoor mould and dampness are responsible for making asthma and other respiratory tract disorders more severe in children.

Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health says “Investing in the removal of environmental risks to health, such as improving water quality or using cleaner fuels, will result in massive health benefits.”So it is high time we should think about ‘which environment we are leaving for the future generation?’It is our responsibility to provide a pollution free environment for them so that they can live a healthy life. Each of us should make effort from our position to fulfill our duty and our collective endeavor can create the difference and ensure a healthy environment in future.

Nusrat Fatemee is a graduate pharmacist in Bangladesh. She has completed her graduation under department of Pharmacy at East West University. She can be reached at nusratfatemee@gmail.com

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A Message to Stop Animal Abuse

arushi-madan

Dear Friends,

Recently there was lot of noise and protests in India against ‘Jallikuttu’- a south Indian Bull Taming tradition. Let me tell you what exactly is this.

Jallikaatu could be referred to as bull taming event typically practiced in Tamil Nadu as a part of Pongal celebrations on Mattu Pongal day, third day of the four-day Pongal festival. The term ‘jallikattu’ is derived from the tamil words ‘jalli’ and ‘kattu’.  Jalli refers to gold or silver coins. Kattu means ‘tied’. Therefore, combined together it refers to coins being tied to the bulls’ horns, which is considered the prize for whoever tames the bull. The bull that wins is used to service numerous cows preserving the native breed. It is renowned as an ancient ‘sport’, believed to have been practised some 2500 years ago. It is controversial because the sport often results in major injuries and even deaths.

A research conducted by People for The Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)’s investigators found that the bulls were being disoriented, deliberately. The bulls’ tails were allegedly bitten and twisted; stabbed, punched and dragged on the ground. Jallikattu is cruel to the bulls.

I was following the news and was very sad to see the way bulls were treated during the sport/tradition.

People may have different opinion, some may say it is right but I am deadly against this or any form of ill-treatment to animals.

I am completely against Jallikuttu, bull fighting, cockfights, dogfighting, hare coursing, greyhound hunts and any cruel sports or torture games involving animals. It is appalling that civilized societies get their kicks by brutalizing animals in so many different ways – all for their own amusement, entertainment or pretext of tradition. These sports should be completely banned.

Jallikattu supporters say that it is a tradition and is very crucial to stop extinction of native cattle species. My point is that not every tradition should be carried forward into a modern civilisation. Practices such as sati and child marriage were all once considered “tradition”. Honour killing was at one point practised actively in several parts of the world, and considered normal. Why should our sense of self-worth and existence depend so heavily on traditions that are barbaric, archaic and promote a distorted sense of machoism? Also, there are other, less brutal, ways to prevent the extinction of indigenous species of cattle.

Indian Constitution says that it is our fundamental duty to be compassionate towards all living creatures – not just human beings. Then why should owners of private animals be free to engage in cruel activities with them? Bulls incur serious injuries and fractures during Jallikattu. Some even die. “Tradition” or “culture” are not a sufficient justification to indulge in this sport.

I even heard supporters saying “If Jallikattu is cruel to animals, then boxing/wrestling is cruel to mankind”. But there is a stark difference between the two sports -in boxing or wrestling, the consent of every player involved is taken, and the bulls never signed up for this “sport” they are forced to be a part of.

There is no dearth of the inane arguments being made in favour of this senselessly brutal sport.

Bullfighting is another brutal, infact, the most brutal and the blood sport which has probably been the subject matter of more protests from animal rights groups than any other. Thankfully, however the protests have had their effect and we are seeing less and less of this needlessly cruel activity is.

We must live in harmony and social peace with nonhuman animals. We have no right to harm any other animal because when we harm animals, we harm ourselves as a society.

It is right for people to stand up for something so pointlessly barbaric. It is fair to ask for a court ban on such cruel sports.

I respect animals and never buy anything which is made out of animal abuse. I don’t enjoy and don’t support circus where animals are mistreated and tortured to over-perform beyond their capacity. It’s pathetic how some people find pleasure in harming/killing animals There is no excuse for causing immense pain and suffering to these creatures just for the sheer heck of it…for fun and games.

It is necessary to create social awareness against the animal cruelty. It cannot obviously be done in a day but it is so important to keep bringing these cruelties to light and to work towards a constant evolution of our societies.

Arushi Madan is a student of Electronic & Electrical Engineering of University of Birmingham, UK. She is an environmental activist and working on different climate issues and creating awareness to reduce environmental pollution. Besides she has been working as a Regional Ambassador of Tunza Eco- Generation. She can be reached at madhumadan2003@yahoo.co.in

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Ocean acidification: The silent struggle in the sea

Zarin-Tasneem

Many people are aware of Global Climate change, but most people are unaware of the secondary consequences of this process. One of these consequences is ocean acidification. Ocean acidification can be loosely explained as the gradual decrease in ocean pH, caused by the uptake of carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere. Meaning, as more and more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, the ocean’s pH decreases.

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) from humankind’s industrial and agricultural activities has increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. As a result, fundamental changes in seawater chemistry are occurring throughout the world’s oceans.

This process is slow. Acidification of the ocean due to rising amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere that subsequently gets absorbed by the ocean. Half of the world’s oxygen is produced by small photosynthetic organisms in the ocean. Just like land plants, they use carbon dioxide and convert it into oxygen. According to Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the ocean is responsible for absorbing 26% of all carbon emissions; this translates to 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide. This process is vital to all respiring organisms on the planet.

Because of this large rise in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the ocean has been absorbing more than it can use for photosynthesis. Because the ocean cannot use this carbon dioxide, but it is still contained within the water, it creates a more acidic environment-reducing the ocean’spH. This is a harmful process for many reasons: animals that use calcium carbonate (all shelled organisms) are now being exposed to acidic conditions. As many people know due to the egg-in-vinegar experiment, the acid dissolves calcium, which means it dissolves shell. This not only puts our favorite shellfish at risk — it harms the microorganisms that are vital to our survival. These small organisms are known as plankton. There are animal plankton (zooplankton) and plant plankton (phytoplankton). The latter are the ones that create half of our oxygen.

The predicted increase in ocean acidity is about 0.5 pH units in the next 100 years. This might not seem like much, but it’s important to remember that the pH scale is logarithmic; therefore, something that is pH 7 is actually 10x more acidic than something that is pH 8. Doing the math, a decrease of 0.5 pH units means that in 100 years, the ocean is predicted to be more than 3x more acidic than it is today.

Sea life is also sensitive to changes in ocean chemistry, and there are many ways the marine ecosystem can be thrown off balance. For example, calcifying invertebrates (things with calcium carbonate shells, like snails, andlimpets) can’t grow as well in acidic conditions. These invertebrates normally feed on algae (e.g. Seaweeds or phytoplankton), which conversely grows just fine — sometimes even better — in acidic conditions. This is not only because the algae is not being eaten as much, but also because for them, the dissolved carbon is actually a beneficial resource. Thinking back to basic plant biology, this makes sense: terrestrial plants (i.e. Plants that grow on the land) take up CO2 for photosynthesis and release oxygen, and algae have to do something similar. Since they live mostly submerged in the ocean, they don’t have ready access to CO2 gas in the air like terrestrial plants do, so instead they take up the dissolved carbon.

If algae is taking up the carbon, why do we have an ocean acidification problem at all? The answer is for two reasons: one is that there is so much extra carbon that the algae can’t possibly use it all, and the other is that carbon is not the only limiting resource for the algae to grow (they also need other key nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorous). But this still leads to an intriguing idea — can we grow more algae to help balance the pH in the ocean? Some researchers think we can do this by creating controlled blooms of phytoplankton, which are microscopic algae like diatoms and Radiolarians. These are good candidates; diatoms alone already take up huge amounts of carbon (they are responsible for 20% of the impact of all algae combined), and would just need a local influx of fertilization to feed a massive bloom.

Ocean acidification is not just about the coral area it’s about us, the entire human race. Many of usstill cannot feel the threat but this process is actually happening. How will it feel to live in a world without fish? And breathing in an atmosphere full of carbon dioxide?  Maybe a solution for our generation is to think that we won’t have to encounter these things. But our great grandchild will surely face, oceans full of acidic water and dead species floating on them. Maybe they will roam around with an oxygen cylinder on their back.

Whether we pay attention or not ocean acidification is worsening day by day. And the primary felons arewe people. So, if we want to save life in the oceansand save ourselves, since we depend on that life, the time is to start slashing carbon dioxide emissions is now. A reduction of consuming fossil fuel is also necessary.

People cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but they can change themselves. That is something it takes to change a whole community, a nation, a human race.

Zarin Tasneem is a student of University of Dhaka. She can be reached at z.tasnim00@gmail.com

 

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We Have Only One Planet, There is No Plant B.

arushi-madan

Once I visited for ‘Earth Day walkathon’, I pointed participants were happily joining the walkathon without knowing what it is for and what message it is conveying. Ironically, at the end of walkathon, I noticed people carelessly throwing waste including empty plastic water bottles, cans, chips wrappers etc in the open ground. Then I realized that there is a lack of awareness on basic environmental values in mass people. It made me to think how can a serious problem of global warming, an environmental menace, be tackled unless people are aware that problem exists, it is realistic and they are the stakeholders in contributing to the problems. This realization inspired me to adopt the cause. Ever since then, I have been into “Environmental Advocacy” by campaigns and working at grass root level.

I have been advocating the cause of environment conservation and sustainable living in the UAE for more than 5 years. I inspire others by environmental campaigns, awareness sessions, workshops, organizing environmental activities and sharing environmental values and achievements through print and social media.

I take every opportunity to spread awareness about the need to protect the environment and reduce waste. I have campaigned at malls, supermarkets, labor camp, factories, Toastmasters club meetings etc.By organizing many environment events and campaigns, I have mobilized youth to work towards environmental protection. By involving them, I have taught them environmental values which they will never forget. It is rightly said “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”.

Believing in the saying “Man with words and no deeds are like a garden full of weeds”, I practice and preach. I work at the grassroots level to set an example for others to follow like by my self -initiated projects “Waste segregation system “and “Energy Saving system” in my building.

I visit schools and educate students about environment values like the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse & Recycle) with the help of videos, quizzing, Environmental Games and Green Talk sessions. I demonstrate the concept of recycling by my self-made coffee tables which I made from discarded tyres. I have been visiting various factories and summer camps as well to educate people about environment protection.  I have linked up many companies having non-working inventory – to recycling agencies.

I organize educational trips to green sites to educate people about sustainability.I write articles on environmental issues/values like recycling, waste management, frugality, energy efficiency etc in various national newspapers to inspire people to be eco-conscious.

I try to impact all segments of society as everyone is a stakeholder in environment. Besides spreading environment awareness among youth, I have also done the same for laborers and women through environment awareness session exclusively for them. I believe in the saying “If you educate a man, you educate an individual but if you educate a woman, you educate a generation”, that’s why I regularly hold sessions and workshops exclusively for women from different segments (separately for working women & housewives).

I truly believe that trees are the lungs and lifelines for our Mother Earth and I organize “Tree Plantation” on various occasions. I have been planting trees on my birthdays, my parents’ anniversaries, and significant days like Earth Day, Environment Day, and International Youth Day etc. I visit primary schools, carry saplings with me and plant them with young kids to involve them in tree plantation and to lay their green foundation.

I also organized a campaign “A Dose of Help” to collect unused (not expired) medicines for the needy and to protect environment so that they don’t go to landfill if thrown. Collected more than 1000 medicines of more than 120 different types including insulin, thyroxine , paracetamol , cough syrups etc.These medicines were given to Emirates Red Crescent for the poor patients.

I am on a mission to inspire and empower more eco-warriors to get into action and lead us into greener future.My passion to work for environment has made me win many laurels, national and international awards which not only motivate me but also ensure that I am on the right path.

My message to the youth of future:

I would like to inform the global youth to shed away obstacles and not to delay for others to initiate. Have a “Let me” approach rather than “Why me”.  Apart from academics, involve yourself in social and voluntary activities to improve the lives, to give back to society and to make this world real place to live. For example, if you find a place dirty, please don’t say “the place is dirty”. Rather, clean it and say “Itwas dirty”. Do it and set examples for others.  Youth has immense potential to bring about a revolutionizing change, let’s use “Youth Power” and bring a positive change to the environment and to the world. Let’s increase our handprint to reduce our footprint. Let’s leave our mark.

My urge /message to readers:

Be the change makers than just the change seekers. Be the change you wish to see in the world.”Going green” doesn’t have to be a daunting task; we don’t need to bring drastic changes to our life style. So before taking any action, please ask yourself 3 questions.  Is it necessary? What will be its impact on environment? Is there any eco friendly alternative? Easy and small steps can make a difference. They may be small at individual level but if all of us follow them, they collectively have a bigger & positive impact on the environment. After all our carbon footprint adds to yours, yours adds to mine and ours adds up to the global carbon footprint. Remember, the earth can live without humans but humans cannot live without earth, we have only one planet, there is no planet B.

Arushi Madan is a student of Electronic & Electrical Engineering of University of Birmingham, UK. She is an environmental activist and working on different climate issues and creating awareness to reduce environmental pollution. Besides she has been working as a Regional Ambassador of Tunza Eco- Generation. She can be reached at madhumadan2003@yahoo.co.in

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The Benefits of Conserving Energy

luiz-bispo

Energy is everywhere. It is possible to find energy in the air, in the water, in the fire, in the land, in the sun, in the plant, in the atom, in the galaxy and inside organism systems. Energy has various forms and is necessarily required in our daily life for home, work, transportation and Industry. Heating or cooling some water, powering electric appliances, driving cars and manufacturing the products are all examples of using energy that we need continuously if it is protected in a right way.

Recently, there was a power failure in my city. In the darkness, it was difficult to move, to watch TV and also it was unable to keep fresh food in the refrigerator. Basically, we almost cannot do anything. The simple things in our lives that we take for granted become precious. That time, I reminded of a simple advice, “Turn off the light!” We have heard it many times; however, few people consider why it is necessary and where electricity comes from. The act of pushing the power electricity button provides a lot of comfort to us, but most of times do not let us recognize the consequences for house and environment. Every year, the amount of energy that we use has increased and wasted not by using it in a wise way. Wasting energy will lead us to spend more money and have a detrimental impact on the environment.

Why do we need to conserve energy? First of all, fossil fuels that mostly we use as energy source are not renewable. Once we use them up, they will be disappeared. Depletion of coal, oil and natural gas make most vehicles stop working and have no electricity in the buildings or houses. The entire human activity can become to a standstill. Secondly, most form of energy can pollute the environment, which also creates health problems. Although solar power is a renewable source, the production of its panel causes pollution. It is needless to say that the burning coal creates air pollution and the air mixed rain pollutes the soil as well. It is necessary that people become aware of their energy consumption in which they are responsible for. However, people do not know the values and gains of conserving energy.

The generation of this new century should create strategies to conserve energy. This is a challenge, but it is totally possible to be overcome and so, build up a sustainable world.

How can we lead people’s behavior to significant energy savings? Simple changes or a few daily actions are enough to bring the positive result.  Those changes can only happen when people are aware of what they can do, what they can have by conserving energy. If people are guided in a proper way, they will continue their efforts to achieve the energy savings. Therefore, relevant campaigns are important methods to motivate people.

We have seen many kinds of movies under the theme of the future of environment, global warming, climate change and the planet. In the film, Mad Max: Fury Road, 2015 an environmental nightmare is described; climate change, deforestation, water shortages.

When I saw it, I felt truly afraid of near future that our descendant might face and have to go through. In fact, there is an interesting research about energy – in study at University of California, Los Angeles. People are motivational to save energy for health and environmental benefits more than due to economic reason. We want to live in better places and stay healthy with family. Therefore, demonstrating detail information about benefits in financial and environmental value or actions for reducing energy use can be efficient.

For instance, by using bicycle, there are less releasing of toxic gases to the atmosphere and, as a consequence, there are fewer chances to get diseases associates with those gases.  Also, taking simple actions around home such as turning off electronic devices when not using and washing dishes with cold water instead of hot water will provide us with an opportunity to save significant amount of money. Moreover, there is a financial rewards that the municipal town hall authorities gives a public transportation or restaurant credit card for the 10% of the total population of the city to people who have the less electricity bill taxes during the month.

I encountered the blackout in my city but in near future I might live in the environmentally degraded world like the movie Mad Max. It is important to realize that we can take actions in our daily life even at home, which will drive massive change. If we keep continuing energy-awareness campaign as our regular routine, the best result will be followed and our future will be hopeful.

Luiz Bispo is a student of University of Sao Paulo – ESALQ. He is an climate activist from Brazil. He can be reached at luizfbispo03@gmail.com

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Environmental Pollution in Bangladesh

aboni_nasir

What does the term ‘Environment’ mean? In most literal sense ‘Environment’ simply means the natural world, or the surroundings, in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates. A healthy environment ensures the continual existence and survival of all life on earth. What if the physical and biological components of the earth system are contaminated to such an extent that normal environmental processes are adversely affected! It leads environmental pollution, which is increasing with every passing year and causing grave and irreparable damage to the earth.

The present environmental condition of Bangladesh is not in equilibrium at all. Severe air, water and noise pollutions are threatening human health, ecosystems and economic growth of Bangladesh. Bangladesh has been ranked 4th among 91 countries with worst urban air quality in the latest air pollution monitoring report of World Health Organization (WHO).

Environmental pollution had been a discussed issue of life for many years but it became a burning one since the start of the industrial revolution. Environment pollution is illustrated by deforestation, destruction of wetlands and inland fisheries, soil nutrient depletion and inland sanity intrusion. Furthermore, natural calamities like flood, cyclones, tidal surges and tornadoes have resulted in severe socio-economic and environmental damage by a combination of factors. These factors include: a large and rapidly growing population; industrial development without sufficient protection from pollution; improper use of chemicals and pesticides in farming; poorly designed flood control systems, drainage and irrigation works; over cutting and indiscriminate felling of forests and royalties for forest products; lack of community control over open access resources; inadequate land use planning and institutional weakness among the public agencies in charge of environmental protection and natural resource management. However, the major root of man- made problems is lack of understanding of ecological principles, poverty and lack of adequate alternate resources.

Environment is the first casualty for increase in pollution whether in air or water. The increase in the amount of greenhouse gases particularly carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is due to new industries that are being set up, new vehicles on roads and trees that are cut to make way for new homes leads to melting of polar ice caps which increases the sea level and pose danger for the people living near coastal areas and also leads to smog which can restrict sunlight from reaching the earth, and contribute to the depletion of ozone layer. Gases like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide can cause acid rain. Water pollution due to contamination of water, such as oil spill, may pose skin related problems including skin irritations and rashes, and may lead to death of several wildlife species. Similarly, noise pollution leads to hearing loss, stress and sleep disturbance. Due to constant release of industrial chemicals waste into the flowing water, and use of insecticides and pesticides, affects the quality of soil and the soil may become infertile preventing proper growth of plants. All types of pollution– air, water and soil pollution – have an impact on the living environment. The effects in living organisms may range from mild discomfort to serious diseases such as cancer to physical deformities; extra or missing limbs in frogs.

This entire planet is our home. We are the only species that systematically destroy our own habitat. We cause most of the pollution and we will suffer the consequences if we don’t stop. By doing what we can, educating our self, and sharing our awareness, we can make a significant impact. Some of the pollution prevention approaches include: increasing efficiency in energy use; reducing the use of water and chemical input; use of environmentally benign fuel sources; protection of sensitive areas; repairing leaky faucets and hoses; switching to “green” cleaners; modifying a production process to produce less waste; implementing water and energy conservation practices; using reusable water bottles instead of throw-away and many more.

We live in an ecosystem where the action of one has the potential to affect the many. This can be a good or a bad thing, depending on what the action is. Our mistakes have polluted the environment that we live in. We should try to reverse the damage. The good thing is that every positive action counts. The small effort we make towards a greener environment can start a healing ripple effect. We may still save what is left of our natural resources and make the world a better place to live in for our future generation.

Healthy environment reduces pollution, protects unique ecosystems, prevents the extinction of endangered species and conserves resources, such as water, land and air. A healthy environment ensures the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems upon which human life and all other life on earth depends. Environmental pollution is also closely related with the process of overall economic development. Safeguarding the environmental quality by controlling environmental pollution is interlinked with the goal of ensuring environmental sustainability. Thus, it is crucial to control pollution because “if we heal the earth, we heal ourselves”. Moreover nature, wildlife and human life are precious gifts to the mankind.

Aboni Nasir is a graduate pharmacist. She has completed her gradation under department of pharmacy of East West University. She has interest on public health and recent health issues. She can be reached at aboni.nasir92@gmail.com

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Grow with Plant, plant a birthday tree

arushi-madan

While we have many days to celebrate like Environment day, Earth Day, Water Day, No Tobacco Day, Car free day, International Youth Day etc and we try to be a part of them but besides these important days, everyone has their own special day like our birthdays. As a responsible inhabitant of this planet, I feel, everyone should celebrate their birthdays in an eco-friendly way. Yes, I am talking about Birthday Plantation which is the best way to have green celebration on special days like birthdays or anniversaries.

We all know that global warming is at its peak and is showing its worst consequences in form of increasing disasters like frequent earthquakes/hurricanes/floods/droughts etc. It has reached such an alarming state that we don’t have time to think, we need to act NOW NOW.

Trees are the lifelines or lungs of Earth. They are the best creation of GOD and provide benefits not only for environment but also for humans. Trees are one of the most efficient ways to combat climate change and global warming. It would be a big positive move towards environment protection if we all start planting birthday trees/ anniversary trees and help promote this idea till it becomes the most trending thing.

World population is reaching 7 billion. Imagine, if each of us plant a tree/sapling on our birthday alone, this world will much greener and purer with 7 billion trees in a year. And if parents or elders or married couple do the same on their wedding anniversaries as well, it will be icing on the cake. I plant trees on my birthdays and this year onwards we have started this for my parents’ wedding anniversary as well.

Imagine if parents plant a tree when their new born child is born, take his picture with the tree every year on his birthday. This way watch the tree growing with your child and build a green future. I wish if people start this tradition and make this world a much better and greener place to live for all of us. Change has to begin from us so whoever is reading it, make it a practice to plant a tree from your next birthday onwards and spread the word around till all 7 billion people of this world have at least one tree each.

Arushi Madan is a student of Electronic & Electrical Engineering of University of Birmingham, UK. She is an environmental activist and working on different climate issues and creating awareness to reduce environmental pollution. Besides she has been working as a Regional Ambassador of Tunza Eco- Generation. She can be reached at madhumadan2003@yahoo.co.in

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