5 June 2003
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has presented E-LAW advocate Rizwana Hasan with a Global 500 award for the outstanding contributions of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) to the protection of the environment. Rizwana was presented with this award today -- World Environment Day -- by UNEP`s Executive Director, Klaus Toepfer, in Beirut, Lebanon. BELA was one of eight individuals and organizations to receive this honor in 2003. Last week, Rizwana and her colleague, Iqbal Kabir, wrote to E-LAW advocates around the world to thank them for their support: "Much of our successes that have been recognized by this award were made possible because you all helped us! On this happy occasion we, therefore, thank you for all your support and are looking forward to a stronger partnership in the long journey ahead."
E-LAW U.S. has worked with advocates at BELA since 1996 and Staff Scientist Mark Chernaik has traveled to Dhaka to work with our partners. Mark witnessed firsthand the chemical and biological hazards created when tanneries discharge effluent containing heavy metals and other toxic chemicals directly into ponds where local children play. It was cause for celebration in March this year when BELA announced that the High Court division of the Bangladesh Supreme Court ordered polluting tanneries in Dhaka to move forward on plans to relocate to an area separate from residential areas, where they can build an effluent treatment plant. Mark had provided BELA with comprehensive technical support on controlling the toxic wastes from these tanneries.
Congratulations to the advocates at BELA for their good work protecting the environment and the health of the people of Bangladesh!