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On the third day of the summit, a panel discussion was held on the topic “Exploiting Nature: Root Cause for Pandemics and Climate Disasters”. The session was chaired by Professor Dr M.M. Akash, Chairman, Department of Economics, University of Dhaka. The panel included Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Chairman, Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation; Dr Ainun Nishat, Professor Emeritus, BRAC University; Dr A.K. Enamul Haque, Professor of Economics, East West University.
Dr Enamul Haque started the discussion by saying that aiming at poverty reduction has deprioritized the environmental sector. He also focused on high rates of air pollution that might increase the chance of spreading COVID-19. “We have to look for our faults rather than looking for a scapegoat to blame on”, he said.
“This pandemic situation wouldn’t have reached such a severe condition if we had strict monitoring in airports and international land ports”, said Dr Ainun Nishat. He also focused on problems related to ecosystems like the higher rate of saltiness in coastal soil, the increasing frequency of tidal surge, lack of pure drinking water and others.
Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad focused on the carbon emission issue and how it might be controlled, and how strict laws can help us to fight this battle of preserving the environment. “Nature is for all species and nature always tries to save all its species. So, sometimes in reply to all the human tortures, it comes up with a natural remedy”, he said. He also added that due to deforestation, animals lose their habitats and they come in contact with humans and many diseases spread.
Professor M.M. Akash concluded the discussion by mentioning how the expansion of neoliberalism in the international front might jeopardize the entire environmental movement. “Without focusing on the faults within governance, we cannot successfully achieve the climate action goals,” said Dr Akash.