Dhaka: My View and the Minister’s Promise

Dhaka: My View and the Minister’s Promise

A few months ago, I, an Australian teenager, visited Dhaka with an excitement to see my relatives. But my first impression of Dhaka, when I landed there, was that it was overwhelmed by sound pollution and traffic jams. After a few days, I saw that Dhaka was an unlivable place in every sense. The first thing I experienced was that there was a lot of noise – mostly from shouting crowds, traffic jams, and unnecessary car horns. The first feeling of Dhaka that came to my mind was that the people there had no patience and that there were no road rules. As soon as I got on the road, I saw that there was a very long traffic jam stretching as far as I could see – it took us an hour to travel 10km. The main environmental hazards I found were the streets. The streets were cracked and had numerous holes, releasing stinky smells from the underground sewage.

Most relatives now days tend to keep relationships through phone communication. But at times, they want to meet each other – this is a great restriction for overseas born relatives to visit Bangladesh since it is a health hazard to them.

Another problem I noticed was that Bangladesh’s tourism- places of tourism interests, such as Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Novo Theatre (a planetarium), are programmed differently from that in Australia. For example, in Australia, planetariums are focused on astronomy, science museums are focused on science activities, and war memorials are focused on Australian war history. However, in Bangladesh, everything is associated to Bangladesh’s history or her political leaders one way or another. For example, when we went to the Novo Theatre, we experienced a beautiful night sky walkthrough of all the planets, some stars and nebulas during the first half of the show. However, the concluding show (second half of the whole show) was based on Bangabandhu and Bangladesh’s history. What I do not understand is how this planetarium’s show is related to the history and politics of Bangladesh – planetariums are supposed to express astronomy. As my little brother explained, ‘Is this a Planetarium or a Bangladeshi–um?”

Ever since I returned from Bangladesh, I had an opportunity to raise environmental issues of concern to Bangladesh’s State Minister for Environment and Forests. He promised that the overall environment in Bangladesh will catch up to that in Australia within the next 15 – 20 years. To achieve that, I believe, the first thing the government has to do is to motivate the people to change their day to day habits – littering, dumping, spiting, peeing in the gutters, pressing horns unnecessarily, etc.

I am eagerly waiting to see that the minister’s promise has been implemented, and that Bangladesh maintains an environment suitable for anyone from overseas visiting the country.

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