Environmental conservation is one of the most
discussed issues internationally. The existence of
life on earth is threatened due amongst other things
to climate change as a result of continuous
environment pollution. For a long time,
environmentalists around the world have tried to focus
the attention of world leaders on this and other
pressing environmental matters. One of the first
internationally collaborative efforts was the
Stockholm Conference on Human Environment in 1972.
These efforts were given a new impetus in 1992 with
the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In addition to being affected by global environmental
problems, Bangladesh is a victim of local and regional
problems. Bangladesh faces many environmental problems both
naturally occurring and those caused by humans. The major
environmental problems in Bangladesh can be
traced to the problems of over-population and poverty. They are:
deforestation, deteriorating water quality, natural
disasters, land degradation, salinity, unplanned urbanisation,
discharge of untreated sewage and industrial wastes, and so on.
The first environmental activities in Bangladesh were taken
soon after the Stockholm Conference on Human Environment in
1972. As a follow up action to the Stockholm Conference, the
Government of Bangladesh funded, under the aegis of the
Department of Public Health Engineering and with a staff
level of 27 and after promulgating the Water Pollution
Control Ordinance in 1973, a project primarily aimed at
water pollution control. In subsequent years, various events
took place as described below.
In 1977, Environment Pollution Control Board with 16 members headed by a
Member of the Planning Commission and Environment Pollution Control Cell
headed by a Director with staff complement of 26 was established. This
was followed in 1977 by the establishment of the Environment Pollution
Control Project, in 1985 by the establishment of the Department
Pollution Control and finally, in 1989 by the restructured and renamed
the Department of Environment (the Department) the activities of which
are overseen by a Director General. The Department discharges its
responsibilities through a head office and six Divisional
offices located in Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Bogra, Barisal
and Sylhet. Of late, the Government has been set up 21 new offices at district level with the creation of 468 new positions. As a result, the DOE staff has been increased to 735.