HC notice to combat air pollution by 2 City Corpns of Dhaka

Dhaka, May 5- The High Court yesterday summoned the chief executive officers of two Dhaka City Corporations to explain their positions over their reports submitted before the court relating to prevent air pollution in the capital. The HC bench comprising Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader asked them to appear physically before it on May 15. Deputy attorney general (DAG) Abdullah Al Mahmud Bashar, told reporters that the HC had on March 13 asked both Dhaka North and South City Corporation authorities to submit reports before it on the steps taken to prevent air pollution in their respective areas. Both the city corporations authorities submitted the reports before the HC in line with its previous directive. But, the court did not satisfy on the reports as the authorities were not followed the laws in preventing the air pollutions from the cities. “Though there is a post for each city outside the capital to conduct mobile court to prevent air pollutions. But, no magistrate was found in the city outside the capital. Hence, the High Court asked me to communicate with the environment ministry to appoint a magistrate in each divisional cities outside the capital in accordance with the law,” DAG Bashar said. Bashar also said that the HC did not satisfy over the city corporations reports over the mobile court drives to prevent air pollution. The HC had earlier directed the city corporations authority to conduct mobile court drives twice a week in Dhaka city to take action against air polluters. The HC bench asked the chief executive officers of the city corporations to appear physically cities to explain on whether the mobile court has been conducted in line with the HC directive or not, the DAG said. Earlier, on March 13, the HC directed the director general of the Department of Environment (DoE) to submit a report on the steps it has taken to prevent air pollution in Dhaka. The HC bench came up with the directive during the hearing on a writ petition filed by the Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB) on the matter. During the hearing, the HC bench also expressed its disappointment as ‘the authorities did not take proper action to prevent air pollution”. Earlier in the day, the DoE and city corporations placed some reports before the HC in line with its January 28 order. The city corporation authorities have been asked to submit further reports after complying with its January 28 order, advocate Manzil Murshid, counsel for the petitioner, told reporters after the HC order. Earlier, on January 28, the HC bench had directed the DoE to conduct mobile court drives twice a week in Dhaka city to take action against air polluters. It also instructed the authorities concerned to spray water twice a day in places where such development and renovation work was already underway to lessen the impact of dust and debris. HRPB, a human rights body, filed the writ petition with the HC based on reports of the Dhaka air pollution on various media outlets. Later, Manzill Murshid told reporters that the authorities concerned were implementing development projects in violation of the rules and regulations of the Environment Act 1997, causing immense suffering to hundreds of people in Dhaka city because of air pollution. Air pollution causes 790,000 premature deaths every year in Europe and 8.8 million worldwide, doubling recent assessments, according to a study published in the European Heart Journal Monday. Between 40 and 80 per cent of those excess deaths are caused by heart attacks, strokes and other types of cardiovascular diseases, underestimated up to now as a driver of smog-related mortality, researchers reported. – Staff Reporter