Dirty work for Bangladeshi Catholics during Lent

A polluted canal in Dhaka, Bangladesh (UCA News/Stephan Uttom)

Taking cues from Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si', Catholics in a Bangladeshi district plan to clean up two dirty and polluted canals during Lent. Source: UCA News.

By Stephan Uttom, UCA News

Catholic villagers from Holy Family Catholic Church at Doripara in Dhaka Archdiocese have paired up with the Bangladesh bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission (ECJP) to implement the “Work for Clean Village” scheme starting today, Ash Wednesday.

Holy Family Church has about 3,500 Catholics living in one large village divided into four blocks. The clean-up plan stems from the unbearable environmental pollution that poses great risks to human health, local leaders say.

The village is crisscrossed by two canals which have turned into an extremely polluted and stinking open sewer due to years of being contaminated by domestic garbage including human waste from toilets.

“It’s about 20 years since the canals became lifeless due to pollution. Today they are nothing but open sewers full of waste and producing an extremely bad stench. Moreover, people have thrown plastic items that block the water flow. We must recover the canals and change our bad habits, or we’ll have to pay a heavy price for pollution soon,” Swapan Stephen Rozario, a parish councillor for Holy Family Church, told UCA News.

Besides restoring the canals, villagers will have to start effective waste management instead of dumping in the canals and take up tree plantation and kitchen gardening to improve the environment in their homestead, Mr Rozario said.

“We hope the environment in the village will get better in the coming days and the message will spread across the country. People need to realize that if we protect the environment, our next generation will have a safer place to grow up.”

Every Friday during Lent, Catholics will take part in a “Way of the Cross with Nature” event to contemplate the need for environmental conservation and what they need to do., said ECJP secretary and Holy Cross priest Fr Liton Gomes.


Bangladeshi Catholics to clean up village during Lent (UCA News

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