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    Volume 8 Issue 96 | November 27, 2009 |

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Being Part of the Solution
Many of us ask others to solve a problem without lifting a finger ourselves, either because we don't want to deal with the problem ourselves or underestimate ourselves too much to believe we can actually make a difference. But when it comes to situations where a single person's actions can cause damage or even death, we need to reconsider the extent to which our actions can impact the world around us.
A few weeks ago, I came across an article about how the seemingly harmless act of releasing balloons on occasions such as grand openings, birthdays, school programmes, etc. can lead to the death of many marine animals. The balloons eventually land up in the sea or river where animals such as whales and turtles innocently mistake them for food and ingest them. A young sperm whale was found dying, stranded on a New Jersey beach because a balloon had lodged in it's stomach, preventing the passage of food. On a similar occasion, a leatherback turtle (which is an endangered species) starved to death because a latex balloon halted passage of food to its stomach. The only thing found in its intestines during a post mortem was three feet of nylon string attached to a balloon. Thousands of animals are killed each year like this by balloons.
My message to everyone is this: if a single act can kill, it can also save. In times like this when issues like climate change affects everyone's lives in one way or another, we need to stop pointing the finger at others and take action ourselves, no matter how small those actions may seem. So let's all do something for our world today, maybe plant a tree in our gardens or take a walk instead of use the car for a change. Because ultimately, every little bit counts.
Sarah Iqbal
Mohammadpur, Dhaka

Negative Portrayal of Bangladesh
I was watching the Aljazeera news on November 17, 2009. A report suddenly caught my attention as it was about my homeland, Bangladesh. On that very day, I learnt about the progress of Bangladesh in corruption. That delighted me a lot thinking we have started taking u-turn. But the report showed bribing at Dhaka Medical College. The report started stating the improvement of Bangladesh. I felt that it was contradictory to show bribing in that report afterwards! As a Bangladeshi, I want my country to be reported as a country with potential, not a problematic one. Yes, there are many problems in our country, but should they be shown to the world like that? Another day, a report was aired highlighting some problems in the garment sector. These sorts of reports may discourage the investors. Why do they only look on the negatives? Can't they find the positive aspects? I want the good and prospective news about our country to be telecast in the international media for the betterment of our country.
Md. Warishul Islam
University of Dhaka

Eliminating Child Labour

Bangladesh is a developing country in the third world. But she has to face a lot of problems. Child labour is among them. It is against human rights and human decency. Although child labour is illegal in Bangladesh, many children are labouring as maids and servants, in garment factories and engineering workshops, in the construction sector, as bus or tempo helpers, in the factories, as roadside restaurant workers and street vendors, and in tea plantations and other agricultural sectors. According to a UN Children's Fund report more than 6.3 million children under 14 are working in Bangladesh. They are working in many industries under hazardous conditions and with little regard for health and safety. Children have been injured while engaged in underground mining, in maritime work and while operating or cleaning machinery in motion. Moreover, they have to endure physical punishment in jobs. Therefore, in my view of point child labour totally should stop because it is a curse for the society, country and also for the world. But for this the eradication of poverty is a first step, since it is poverty that drives these youngsters to work.
Mohammed Jamal Uddin
Dept. of English
International Islamic University Chittagong

Rickshaws and Rickshaw Pullers
A huge debate is going on regarding what to do with the rickshaws but no one thinks about the rickshaw pullers. Most rickshaw pullers have migrated from the villages. At present there is greater percentage of unemployment and hence an increase in crimes like robbing, thieving, etc. No doubt there will be a massive problem if the rickshaws are removed because the roads in many places are so narrow that the passage of motor vehicles is impossible. The best proof is the Chawk bazaar which is the biggest wholesale market in Dhaka city. Here only rickshaws and some vans are visible. The roads there are so narrow that the passage of a car is far beyond imagination. So removing the rickshaw is not a good idea. But still we need to move further and the first thing we should consider is the rickshaw pullers and the commuters because rickshaw is the main medium of transportation for the middle class. Although it is slow but for Bangladesh 'slow but steady wins the race' is totally appropriate. It is needless to describe the condition of public buses and the broken footpaths which are occupied by hawkers and poor people. The removal of rickshaw will definitely increase poverty and taxi cabs and CNG cannot replace them in an instant. Before removing the rickshaw the government should think of alternative employment for poor, simple rickshaw pullers.
Mohammed Mahbubur Rahman


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