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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 117
May 9, 2009

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Laws For everyday life

Legislations to minimise water pollution

When toxic substances enter lakes, streams, rivers, oceans, and other water bodies, they get dissolved or lie suspended in water or get deposited on the bed. This results in the pollution of water whereby the quality of the water deteriorates, affecting aquatic ecosystems. Pollutants can also seep down and affect the groundwater deposits.

Water pollution has many sources. The most polluting of them are the city sewage and industrial waste discharged into the rivers. The facilities to treat wastewater are not adequate in Bangladesh. The following are some of the governing legislations which penalise those who pollute our water bodies.

Power to make rules
3. (1) The Government may make rules for the purposes hereinafter in this section mentioned.
(2) The Government may, by notification, apply such rules or any of them to any water or waters.
(3) Such rules may-
(a) prohibit or regulate all or any of the following matters, that is to say,-
(i) the erection and use of fixed engines;
(ii) the construction, temporary or permanent, of weirs, dams, bunds, embankments and other structures;
(iii) the use or method of operation of any kind of [fishing net] and the size of the mesh of any [fishing net];
(iv) the manufacture, import, marketing, carrying, transporting or possessing of such fishing nets, traps, gears and other contrivances as may be specified in the rules;]

(b) prohibit the destruction of, or any attempt to destroy, fishes by explosives, gun, bow and arrow in inland water or within coastal territorial waters;

(c) prohibit the destruction of, or any attempt to destroy, fishes by the poisoning of waters or the depletion of fisheries by pollution by trade effluents or otherwise;

(d) prescribe the seasons during which the killing or catching of fishes of any prescribed species shall be prohibited;

(e) prescribe a minimum size below which no fish of any prescribed species shall be killed or sold;

(f) prohibit all fishing in all waters or in any specified waters for a specified period;

(g) prohibit the destruction of or any attempt to destroy fishes by drying or dewatering of any fishery:]

Provided that the Government may for the purpose of pisciculture, collection of data and scientific investigation for biological study on fish permit the catching of fishes in any closed season or in any prohibited water or below the prescribed minimum size and disposal thereof subject to the condition of the licence issued for the purpose.

(4) In making any rule under this section, the Government may provide for-

(a) the seizure, removal and forfeiture of any fixed engine [finishing net, Current Jal] or any other contrivance erected or used for fishing in contravention of the rules;

(b) the forfeiture of any fishes taken by means of any such fixed engine [finishing net, Current Jal] or any other contrivance; and

(c) the procedure for disposal of forfeited fixed engine, fishing net [Current Jal] or other contrivance or forfeited fish.]]

(5) The power to make rules is subject to the condition of previous publication; and the date to be specified under clause

(3) of [section 23 of the General Clauses Act, 1897,] shall not be less than two months from the date on which the draft of the proposed rules was published.

(6) All such rules shall be published in the official Gazette and shall, unless some later date is appointed, come into force on the date of such publication.

Control of pollution
8. The Government may, with a view to preventing and controlling marine pollution and preserving the quality and ecological balance in the marine environment in the high seas adjacent to the territorial waters, take such measures as it may deem appropriate for the purpose.

Power to make rules
9. (1) The Government may make rules for carrying out the purposes of this Act.
(2) In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide-

(a) for the regulation of the conduct of any person in or upon the territorial waters, contiguous zone, economic zone, conservation zone and continental shelf;
(b) for measures to protect, use and exploit the resources of the economic zone;
(c) for conservation measures to protect the living resources of the sea;
(d) for measures regulating the exploration and exploitation of resources within the continental shelf;
(e) for measures designed to prevent and control of marine pollution of the high seas.

(3) In making any rule under this section the Government may provide that a contravention of the rule shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to one year or with fine which may extend to five thousand takas.

Chapter VI - Penalties and procedure
Penalty for pollution etc

41A. Any person who throws or allows to fall into the water, shore, bank or land within the limits of the Port any goods, ballast ashes or any other thing whatsoever causing pollution of the water or environment shall be punishable with fine which may extend to one lakh Taka.]

The effects of water pollution are not only devastating to people but also to animals, fish, and birds. Polluted water is unsuitable for drinking, recreation, agriculture, and industry. It diminishes the aesthetic quality of lakes and rivers. More seriously, contaminated water destroys aquatic life and reduces its reproductive ability. Eventually, it is a hazard to human health. Nobody can escape the effects of water pollution.

The individual and the community can help minimize water pollution. By simple housekeeping and management practices the amount of waste generated can be minimized.

--Compiled by Law Desk.


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