Natural resources, energy and environment
Bangladesh has large reserves of natural gas,
which is the most important energy source and accounts
for most of the electricity generation. In addition,
there are smaller deposits of coal, oil and a number of
minerals. The fertile soil is also an important asset.
Natural gas has been extracted since 1960, mainly in
eastern Bangladesh. In addition to natural gas, natural
gas is also used for the production of artificial
fertilizers. In the late 1990s, gas fields were also
found offshore. The hopes were high in terms of both
their own energy supply and export opportunities.
However, strong domestic opinion opposes exports as long
as the country's energy needs are not met. The
electricity shortage is large, despite extensive efforts
being made to expand the capacity of the electricity
grids and electricity generation.
Major exports by Bangladesh with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
The electricity shortage is partly due to sharply
increased demand, but also to corruption and unwarranted
bureaucracy. The electricity grids that are available
are under-dimensioned, leading to constant power cuts.
According to the World Bank, the power cuts cause
financial losses for billions of dollars each year.
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After the turn of the millennium, new large natural
gas reserves have been found, which means improved
chances of both managing their own supply and possibly
exporting. In 2014, the state-run energy company
Petrobangla signed an agreement with a US consortium to
build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal. Bangladesh
has also entered into an agreement with Qatar on imports
of LNG. However, the two major political parties in
Bangladesh have both said that exports can only become
relevant once the country's own electricity supply is
secured for 50 years to come.
Just over half of the energy consumed comes from
natural gas, while traditional energy types such as
firewood, animal waste and waste from rice crops account
for a quarter. The remainder mainly comes from oil, most
of which is imported. Electricity is generated to over
80 percent using natural gas. The remainder is mainly
extracted from imported oil products. In 2013, the
construction of two nuclear power plants started, by a
Russian company and with Russian financing. They are
expected to be ready by 2022.
The environmental problems are many in the densely
populated Bangladesh. Lack of clean drinking water is
one, and tragically, a large-scale attempt to address
that deficiency has led to what the World Health
Organization (WHO) has called the world's largest
poisoning disaster of all time. In order to give people
access to other than the often heavily polluted surface
water, millions of wells were dug in the countryside in
the early 1970s. This often happened under the auspices
of foreign donors. During the 1990s, it was discovered
that the well water contained high levels of arsenic
from the surrounding bedrock. Around 20 million people
are still estimated to be referred to as
arsenic-poisoned water today, according to a 2016 report
by Human Rights Watch (HRW). paralysis and blindness.
The victims are mainly poor rural residents. According
to the estimates, up to 5 million of the 90 million
children expected to be born between 2000 and 2030 will
die from arsenic.
One problem is also decreasing water levels in the
rivers. All Bangladesh rivers come from India, which
divert water to use it in agriculture and for power
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
223 kilos of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
311 kWh, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
73 190 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
0.5 ton (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
34.7 percent (2015)
At least 1,500 factory workers are laid off
Bangladeshi clothing manufacturers kick off at least 1,500 factory employees.
The reason is that they have participated in strikes for higher wages, which
have resulted in dozens of factories standing still for a week and unable to
deliver goods to, for example, western clothing stores.
Islamist leaders are executed
Asadul Islam, a high-ranking leader of the banned Islamist group JMB, is
executed by hanging in Khulna prison. Islam was convicted of participating in a
2005 blast in which two judges were killed.
Suspected Islamists are killed
Security forces kill twelve suspected members of the New JMB outbreak group,
which is said to have sworn allegiance to the Islamic State (IS). A three-hour
firefight erupts in connection with raids on four of the group's hiding places
on the outskirts of Dhaka.
Jamaat leaders are executed
Mir Quasim Ali, leader and financier of Jamaat-e-Islami, is executed by
hanging in a security prison outside Dhaka. He is the sixth high-ranking
opposition leader to be executed after being convicted of war crimes at the
country's disputed war crimes tribunal ICT.
The factory accident 2013 trial begins
Eighteen people are charged with crimes committed in connection with the
death of 1,130 people (the majority of young female workers) when a factory
outside Dhaka collapsed as a result of construction larvae and security breaches
(see April 2013).
More charges against Khaleda Zia
Nine new charges are brought against GDP leader Khaleda Zia, who is now
facing charges of 30 points. Some of the allegations concern corruption, but
most are related to the violence in early 2015.
About 30 websites are closed
The government closes over 30 news portals and websites, citing that they
have published "questionable content". Among the news sites that are banned are
several that are considered opposition friendly.
Khaleda Zia's son is imprisoned
BNP leader Khaleda Zia's eldest son Tarique Rahman is sentenced to seven
years in prison for money laundering.
Perpetrators from affluent families
Police say several of the perpetrators came from well-to-do families and
attended high-status schools. Among the perpetrators is a son of a government
member from the Awami League.
Terrorist act against restaurant in Dhaka
About 20 people, including two police officers and all five perpetrators, are
killed when suspected Islamists perform an explosive act in a restaurant in the
diplomatic district of Gulshan in Dhaka. The perpetrators first take the
visitors hostage. Among the victims are nine Italians, seven Japanese, one
American and one Indian. After an exchange of shots, which lasts for at least
ten hours, an intervention force storms the restaurant. The extreme Sunni Muslim
group IS is taking the deed, but the government says the perpetrators belong to
the local group JMB (Jamaatul Mujaheddin Bangladesh) and that several people
have been arrested. The government blames the violence in the country on groups
with ties to the opposition and rejects information that IS is active in the
Murder of Hindu
A volunteer worker is murdered in a Hindu temple in western Bangladesh. The
crime is another in the line of murder of people belonging to a minority.
Police action against violence
The police initiate a week-long effort to end the wave of violence that swept
across the country for about three years and is directed at minorities and
secular forces in society. Around 50 murders have been committed, for example,
by Hindus, Shia Muslims, so-called secular bloggers, academics, LGBT activists
and Christians. Thousands of people are arrested during the police operation.
Few factories have been improved
A new report reveals that only 7 of 1,660 factories have implemented an
improvement plan in accordance with the legally binding agreement (roughly the
Fire and Construction Safety Agreement) concluded in 2013. The agreement came
after the accident that claimed 1,138 employees' lives when a factory building
collapsed, partly because of neglect with the building rules.
Jamaat's leader Nizami is executed
Motiur Rahman Nizami, former minister and leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, is
executed by hanging. The disputed war criminal tribunal ICT has convicted him of
genocide, rape and torture during the War of Independence in 1971. Nizami is the
fifth and highest ranking Islamist leader executed since December 2013. Four of
the executed were members of Jamaat. Nizami refused to ask for mercy from
President Abdul Hamid.
LGBTQ activist is murdered
A well-known LGBT activist and editor of a LGBT magazine is murdered when
unknown perpetrators break into an apartment in Dhaka and kill him. Another
person is injured at the same time. This time, too, the government is blaming
local militant Islamists.
University teachers murdered by Islamists
The Islamic State (IS) is taking on the blame for the assassination of a
university teacher in Dhaka, but the government who refuses to say IS is present
in the country states that a local militant Islamist group is behind it.
Domestic Islamists arrested for student murder
Police arrest two members of the banned militant Islamist group ABT. They are
suspected of murdering the Islamist-critical student in March of the same year
(see March 2016).
New prosecution against Khaleda Zia
BNP leader Khaleda Zia is charged with lying behind a bomb attack aboard a
bus during government-critical protests in early 2015.
Student murdered by militant Islamists
A 26-year-old student at the University of Dhaka was stabbed to death by
unknown perpetrators. The victim has written critically about militant Islamists
in social media. Al-Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent (Aqis) later takes on the
blame for the murder, which is the sixth similar murder of Islamist critics in
Murder of a Hindu priest
Three men are arrested for the brutal murder of a Hindu religious leader in
northern Bangladesh. The Islamic State (IS) takes on the blame for the murder,
but the authorities are doubtful that the extremist group is behind the act.
Major theft from the central bank
About 20 unknown hackers manage to steal $ 81 million from the country's
foreign exchange reserves in the central bank. They place the money in an
account in the Philippines and then transfer it to casinos in the Republic of
China. The theft raises anger among the public and the security of the country's
banking system is called into question. The Governor is dismissed by the
Minister of Finance for not informing the government quickly enough.
Bangladesh's total foreign exchange reserves are approximately $ 27 billion.
ICT issues two new death sentences
The Bangladeshi War Criminal Tribunal ICT sentenced two former
Pakistani-friendly militiamen to death for war crimes committed during the 1971
GDP leader Zia is being prosecuted
A Bangladeshi court is suing Zia for rioting because in a statement she has
questioned the official record of the number of casualties in the 1971 civil
Bangladeshis are expelled
Singapore expels 14 Bangladeshi suspects for conspiracy with extremist
Islamist group Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), believed to be behind attacks on
secular writers in Bangladesh. The 14 expelled are being detained in Bangladesh.
Death sentence for murder of bloggers
Two students are sentenced to death for the murder of a blogger in 2013.
These are the first convictions that fall for a series of brutal murders of
bloggers committed recently.