Environment pollution costs Bangladesh $6.5b annually

Pratik Bardhan | Update:

Prothom Alo illustrationAlongside the health risks, environmental pollution incurs huge economic losses for Bangladesh, according to the World Economic Forum’s Regional Risks for Doing Business 2019.

“Each year, Bangladesh loses approximately US $6.5 billion and India US $5 billion due to pollution and environmental degradation," WEF said.

Its annual report also indicated if pollution levels were brought down in line with World Health Organization guidelines, life expectancy in Bangladesh would increase by 1.3 years and in India by just above a year.

The report also said urban populations in Bangladesh where 'failure of urban planning' ranked fifth are growing rapidly. The scenario is same in India where it ranked sixth.

Yet, it added, the infrastructure of the cities of both of the countries is at 'risk of failing to keep up with this growth'.

"Bangladesh suffers from some of the lowest local 'spending on urban infrastructure', with most cities offering inadequate infrastructure and low levels of urban services," WEF quoted the World Bank as saying.

Quoting the UN, the WEF said by 2030, the populations of Dhaka will increase by more than 10 million.

The WEF has identified ‘top ten risks’ in doing business in South Asia. Water crisis tops the list.

Other risks are: terrorist attacks, manmade environmental catastrophes, failure of urban planning, energy price shock, deflation, unemployment or underemployment, state collapse or crisis, fiscal crisis and asset bubble.

Of five top risks of doing business in Bangladesh, energy price shock was the uppermost. Other risks are: failure of national governance, unemployment or underemployment, failure of financial mechanism or institution and failure of urban planning.

The report ranks 'Water risks and manmade environmental crises' high across the region.

The water crises in the region, it added, are “the issue of water in South Asia has been described as a problem of scarcity amid abundance.”

The region has less than five per cent of the world’s renewable water resources despite it is the home to around a quarter of the global population.

On Bangladesh’s risks, South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM) executive director professor Selim Raihan said, “Many of business persons in Bangladesh have earned the skills to run business averting the crisis of good governance.”

“The country’s production sector is expanding. That is why the price of energy is the main problem for them than that of ‘good governance,” professor Selim added.

“The country is building economic zones. So, the businesses should be provided with cheap and easy access to power alongside others," Selim Raihan said adding the LNG may address the problem to a great extent. 

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