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Staff Correspondent
Industrial development is the building block of a country’s economic growth and one of the most integral parts of a country’s sustainable development. The development of a country is often determined by its industrial growth. However, on the other hand, today’s’ children are the future of the country. Hence, for ensuring a bright future of a country, helping the kids grow up healthy is a must. It is needless to say that industrial development and child health both are integral to the sustainable development of a country but in this regard child health should get more priority than industrial development. In Bangladesh, child health is often overlooked by the authorities concerned as well as by the parents.
In Bangladesh child heath is often overwhelmed by numerous factors, and children living in or around the industrial areas face the perilous patch of health hazards due to industrial pollution. For example, Adiba, a nine year old young girl living in Gazipur industrial area, has been suffering from cough for last couple of weeks. After taking her to the doctor, her parents came to know that their child has been suffering from asthma.
After talking to Adiba’s parents, the doctor came to know that there are several industries where Adiba lives. As industrial areas are considered to have higher risk of air pollution impact especially to children living close to the industries, the doctor identified industrial pollution behind Adiba’s affliction to asthma from such an early age.
On the other hand, Rifat is a five year old boy who has been suffering from breathing problem over the last few days. Also in this case, the sufferer lives close to the industrial area in Narayanganj.
It is found in a recent study that children living in and around the industrial areas are vulnerable to respiratory diseases due to industrial pollution. Children live in industrial zones often get afflicted to diseases like asthma, breathing problem, malnutrition, physical weakness and so on. Also children born in industrial areas are very much vulnerable to premature death.
Researchers have found that children born within 0.8 kilometer distance from industrial are likely to be born with less weight than children in other areas. Dr Saidur Islam Sohag, a registered doctor of Dhaka Medical College and Hospital said that the pregnant mothers living in the industrial areas are not safe from industrial pollution too. Consequently, their children also get afflicted by the grave impacts of industrial pollution.
According to him, children living in the industrial areas are mainly affected by asthma. But most of the parents do not get concerned about this disease at early stage. In most of the cases, parents bring their kids to doctors at the last minute. Hence, it becomes very challenging to save the lives of the children. In this regard building concrete awareness and proper planning are very much expected from the part the masses of the people.
Residential homes and houses should not be built in or around industrial zones. Moreover, most of the industries in the country do not follow the rules and regulations for reducing pollution. Most of the factories do not have proper waste management system. As a result, various types of contagious diseases overwhelm children living close to the industrial areas.
Human rights activist Tajin Rahman said, “Our biggest problem is that we depend on government for everything. It is not only the government’s responsibility but also ours to fix all problems that we face. But we must always keep in mind that Bangladesh is a small country in terms of volume, and its population is relatively high. Hence, it is important for the people of the country to grow awareness within themselves.
In this regard she urged the authorities concerned to ban the human-establishments near industrial zones.
She added that sustainable development of a country depends both on industrialisation and healthy life of the children. There are certain practices through which a country can balance both in a coordinated manner. For example, if a country can strictly prohibit the developments of factories and industries in the densely populated areas, and all the industries in the country follow the rules and regulations, we can help our children lead a healthy life.