Environmental sustainability and rural development in Bangladesh -The Asian Age

Sustainable rural development is about improving the quality of life in a locality, including ecological, cultural, institutional, social and economic components without leaving any burden. Indeed, rural development includes planning for sustainable future and impacts of human activities on the natural system. In Bangladesh, most of the rural families are directly dependent upon their immediate environment, and their own skills in using it, for the daily necessities of life.
Sustainable development is conceived to be anchored on three pillars, which are to evolve concomitantly on sustainable factors, Such as- economic, social and environmental. Land, water, forests are the primary resources of rural areas and are essential to maintain human life and well-being. For rural development with ensuing environmental sustainability to take positive action to preserve and protect the resources upon which they depend. Along with this, need to indirectly release pressure on natural resources for agricultural production, continuing awareness-raising with advocacy.
Rural people have historically experimented and accumulated knowledge to adapt their natural systems to local conditions. However, rural farming plays an important role in reducing poverty, fighting food insecurity and malnutrition, and promoting sustainability. Family farming also plays a critical role in food supplies, providing between 27% and 67% of food at the national level (FAO, 2012). Rural areas face specific challenges for development.
Their socio-economic indicators tend to be persistently worse than in urban areas. This is reflected in lower access and levels of public services such as education, health and housing, lack of basic infrastructures such as roads, irrigation and communications, and unequal access to land and water systems. Even rural people have not enough energy and don't meet their demand. The rural population has electricity access that barely meets limited usages: light, ceiling fans, refrigeration, and irrigation.
However, Unplanned land use in setting-up of development projects, private industrial and service activities, human settlements, grabbing of wetlands and other common resources by unscrupulous persons, Including improper rapid urbanization is a major problem facing the country. Especially in the face of offensive uses and variability, selecting the right land uses for given biophysical and socio-economic conditions, and implementing sustainable Land Management. Those are essential for minimizing land degradation, rehabilitating degraded land, ensuring the sustainable use of land resources.
The world's most densely populated country; Bangladesh has been experiencing degradation of the natural environment for decades in terms of deforestation, river erosion soil quality depletion, water pollution, pollution from chemical fertilizer and pesticides, biodiversity loss etc. Ecology investigates the relationship and interactions between organism and their environment. It is closely related to rural and sustainable development which not only focuses on environmental issues but also combines the concern for the preservation of natural systems with social and economic challenges.
In rural areas, examples of solid waste include wastes from kitchens, gardens, cattle sheds, agriculture, and materials such as metal, paper, plastic, cloth, and so on. Most household waste in rural areas is organic, with little inorganic material, and is non-toxic. Development and sustainability focus on generating awareness and providing community managed sanitation systems. Awareness and education campaigns should aim for, schools, non - governmental organizations working in villages, shop keepers, families, and the general public.
Energy is a key to development and a fundamental issue in relation to poverty reduction and achievement of SDG in Bangladesh. It is a low energy consuming country with per capita annual consumption of 220 KW hours. Although the country saw some progress in the area of solar and biogas energies but its insufficient. The priority now should be how to ensure sustainable energy and energy efficiency. After Bangladesh's independence in 1971, only 3% of the total population had access to electricity.
This ratio has gone up to 59.6% in 2012, and almost 76% by 2016. Nowadays, Rapidly Increasing Electricity Access in Rural Areas. Bangladesh plans to generate 5% of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2015 and 10% by 2020. SREDA is expected to assist the government in promoting renewable energy. The government needs to focus on off-grid areas (60% of rural areas) for power generation through renewable to address poverty elimination and achievement of sustainability.
Unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and insufficient hygiene are the key factors contributing to poor health in a majority of the population in Bangladesh. Providing safe drinking water remains a big challenge with arsenic contamination of groundwater. Safe water supply and health sanitation system in rural areas should be increased in Bangladesh, where other pollutants such as shallow aquatic arsenic and salinity, iron and bacterial pathogens are polluted.
Geographically, Bangladesh faces the numerous number of the natural disaster. A large number of poor people are to live in vulnerable areas of the rural areas in Bangladesh. The country has also been experiencing moderate to severe droughts, particularly in its north-western region, in recent years which have affected crop yields to some extent in certain areas. Being aware of the limitations and the vulnerability of the country to natural disaster, the GoB has been making continuous efforts to make Bangladesh a part of the safer world in the 21st century and seek the help of development partners.
Rural development with environmental sustainability is helping to easier to human life. Natural resources also provide rural people with food, medicines other goods that contribute greatly to rural subsistence economies. For the ensuring rural development as well as protect environmental pollution of the rural areas it needs immediate steps to manage in a sustainable way. Energy security, clean water and sanitation will accelerate rural development and helps to sustainability.
To sum up, Rural Development and sustainability are interlinked with each other. We have to know that more than 60% of people live in a rural area and they need higher energy with living matters. Only, rural development is sustainable while those people managed properly environmental phenomenon. As a consequence, environmental sustainability looks to protect our natural environment, human and ecological health.
Touhidur Rahman Tuhin is a student, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering of Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University