It was a long time since I last met my best friend Sanjida Akhtar. She took a citizenship of the United States and moved there a long time ago. Meeting after at least 5 years, I asked for the reason of her migration. She took a long breath and said, "Bangladesh is not a place to raise a child". I could clearly see the pain of being a foreigner in motherland in her eyes.
Every year roughly 500,000 Bangladeshis are leaving the country and more than 1 million members of this nation has taken the citizenship of different countries in Europe, America and Australia only for providing themselves a secure and better life. Every year the number is increasing and probably no parents with the ability to settle abroad are interested to raise their children in Bangladesh.
Definitely food is the first concern. Almost all of the baby foods contains harmful preservatives. At least 30 companies were previously detected for putting melamine and harmful plastic in baby food and utensils. Till date, at least 1.3 million children had died and more 1.5 million is suffering from toxic diets causing different kinds of cancer. It is even worse for chocolate, baby syrups and different juices and drinks.
Children are the worst sufferer because their stomach is completely tender to response to the materials used for making their foods. In recent Real Time Air Quality ranking, Dhaka was the city with worst air pollution in the world followed by Delhi, Beijing and Kabul. Even the aged persons are having different allergies and lung problem where children are mostly suffering from fatal pneumonia. Most of the medication are not being effective to them. Residence of the city is becoming permanent patient of chronic diseases like Asthma.
Most surprisingly, children are not safe inside of their houses. Parents use modern life coordinating tools to save time and energy. However, these materials which includes Aerosols, are highly poisonous which can even be the cause for one's death. US based Organizations Health Effects Institute and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation in their report, ``The State of Global Air 2019'' says, ``indoor and outdoor air pollution led to 23 lakh deaths in Bangladesh in 2017''.
They also said that "life of a South Asian child will be shortened by 30 months on average as they grow up in current high levels of air pollution.''(Collected from The Daily Star, April 6, 2019). Importantly, air is not only being polluted by the individuals who are illiterate but by the matured and educated entities who know the hazardous side-effects of air pollution.
Along with air pollution, there is no warranty that children will come back home safely from their school. For a long time child abuse is an everyday story of countries newspapers. The acts like physical and mental harassment of children including death by beating or being raped are happening right in their educational institute. School is no more a place to learn.
Only in between January to March 2019, at least 167 girls were raped by the persons they were believed to learn from. At in 27 cases, young boys and girls are being harassed by their religious teacher inside mosque or other religious places. 571 cases of being raped by teacher were filed last year. Reports says, religious institutions are more likely to be in the most venerable conditions.
The roads are no more safe for children.
The death of Labonno, Abrar and Iram by road accident are few of hundreds of cases every year. Bloods in roads became something very common and obvious like our breakfast. No one knows who the next is. Even the footpaths are not safe from the unfit vehicles and unskilled drivers. Most alarmingly, nation has never observed a justice towards the crimes happening in roads every day. Most of the Bangladeshis have embraced it as their fate and rest are fleeing these violence somewhere new. No optimistic notes are being able to hold their beliefs any more.
What can be the solution? Do we really have any?
As a concerned citizen, I believe, a good governance can put an end to the children abuse and road safeties. The air, water and food pollution should be handled more strictly than ever. Raising awareness among mass can be a popular idea as long as they are also feeling the urge for it. We are tired of being pessimistic. With all the required steps taken, "Will our children be safe in this country in near future?, question remains.
The writer is a freelance contributor
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