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Community Meeting and ANU Seminar

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On Monday the 5th of July 2005, a meeting was organised at the Australian National University to discuss and to explore ways of getting involved with the environmental issues of Bangladesh. Members of the Bangladeshi community living in Canberra attended the meeting.

Dr Nazrul Islam who is a professor of Economics Kyuscho National University, Japan and founder-coordinator of Bangladesh Environmental Network (BEN) spoke about the environmental activities around the world and called upon Australian Bangladeshis to come forward to address issues related to the environment.

Mr Kamrul Ahsan Khan, a BEN member, introduced Dr Nazrul Islam emphasising the importance of building networks all over Australia to take active part in positive work for Bangladesh.

This meeting was also addressed by scientist Dr Abed Choudhury, seniors lecturer Dr Milton Hasnat, Dr Hilal Ahammad, Mr Ahmed Imran ,Ms Nazmun Ratna, Mr Lokman Hussain, Mr Shadap Parvez, Mr Zobaid and many others.

Dr Islam warned that environmental degradation resulting from the side effects of poisonous air, uncollected garbage, and lack of open space, polluted and dying water bodies, congestion, noise, and traffic jam can stifle the economic growth of Bangladesh.

He added that these problems pose a greater threat to Bangladesh in particular, because of the country`s small landmass, population density and rapidly developing industry. Dr Islam also warned of the fallacies that currently exist in treatment of environmental issues in economics.

Discussants provided various recommendations that centred around need for environmental awareness from the grassroots, role of the mass media and non-resident Bangladeshis through to receiving the endorsement of political leaders in Bangladesh. Participants were enthusiastic to build up a network and to actively participate in the environmental issues in Bangladesh.

Before the meeting, a seminar was arranged by the Australian National University. Dr Nazrul Islam presented the keynote paper on Vietnam. The seminar was attended by the High Commissioner for Bangladesh to Australia, H.E. Ashraf-ud-Duala and other scholars and students of the University. High Commissioner`s speech and participation in the seminar was appreciated by the ANU authority and the Bangladeshi community.

More meetings will be organised soon in other major cities of Australia .

Kamrul Ahsan Khan

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