Saturday, March 05, 2011

Chemists Without Borders in Bangladesh

Chemists Without Borders representatives were invited to Bangladesh University by the Board of Trustees to offer ideas for consideration as the University inaugurates a program of environmental science degrees and the Center for Environmental Research and Development. Ms. Rachel Pokrandt, Co-Director of K-12 Curriculum and Training, Beyond Benign (a green chemistry education enterprise) and I (Professor Lois Ongley, Secretary, Chemists Without Borders and Professor at Unity College in Maine) arrived in Dhaka on March 3.

Dhaka is a city that is at the forefront of some environmental inititatives: most vehicles operate on compressed natural gas rather than gasoline, plastic bags seem to be banned for most shopping with paper or cloth being used by shop keepers if a bag is needed, each light bulb in my hotel room is CF and there is a switch into which you must place your key for the electrical power to be active.

Our hosts have been wonderful, sacrificing their weekend day off on Friday March 4 to show us the sites like the Pink Palace and Lalbagh Fort, the Language Martyrs Monument, and the Botanical Gardens. We got to see the opening moments of the Bangladesh/West Indes cricket match on TV during lunch. The outcome of the game was not what Bangladeshis had hoped for as the West Indes team won decisively.