THE photograph that New Age published on Wednesday shows a motor workshop set up a portion of a road divider just under the Mayor Mohammad Hanif Flyover at Saidabad in Dhaka, in blatant disregard for environment and noise pollution. An occupation of road dividers under flyovers could very well harm the at-grade roads, which are also open to traffic, and cause severe environmental pollution. This is a mark of general indifference of the government towards the problems of people, pedestrians and passengers alike. With inadequate footpaths, and many of them illegally occupied by vendors, makeshift shops and even construction materials, Dhaka has already become a city unfriendly to people. That the space for pedestrians to walk along a road usually shrinks with the parking of cars on the roadside is also known to all. All this takes place under the nose of, or in collusion with, the authorities concerned, who are meant to keeping the environment and roads safe and secure for people.
Setting up such workshops, especially at busy laces such as Saidabad, entails an unhealthy environment for the public. It would not be an exaggeration to infer that the authorities are least bothered about the problems the people face every day on the roads because of such occupation of open spaces. What has contributed to this carelessness about haphazard establishment of workshops is the clout, political and financial, that the owners enjoy. These workshops handle the largest number of generators of hazardous waste among small businesses and they have the potential to cause pollution in the vicinity. Handling of chemicals in these may cause environmental pollution through activities associated with usual repair work such as the replacement of auto parts, the cleaning and dismantling of engines and other components and even through the regular change of fluids. These activities have the potential to release contaminants like handled chemicals in the environment through accidental spills or leaks. Usually, the places around a workshop are spattered with oil and soot making them unsuitable for people to move through. Unwanted noise created by workshops not only affects human health but also an individual’s behaviour. It can damage the psychological health of an individual causing annoyance and aggression.
It needs to be pointed out that ineptitude and laxity in law enforcement have emboldened moneyed people to set up workshops wherever they want, even on road dividers. To stem the tide of destruction, the authorities must bring to book the polluters of environment, including aberrant workshop owners and the like.
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