May Day Greetings, 2009

May Day, 2009

Bangladesh Environment Network, a global network of non-resident Bangladeshis, greets all on the occasion of May 1, the International Labor Day, the day to celebrate labor and to affirm the right of laborers in the society.

Though not observed widely in the US (which has instead instituted a separate Labor Day weekend in Aug/Sep), the day actually originated in the US, with the Chicago Hay market killing of workers fighting for their rights in 1886.

The struggle for environment protection and the struggle for workers’ rights intersect in many ways. Workers and toiling masses suffer more from environmental deterioration. This is true not only because of the poor indoor, and often hazardous conditions in which they have to work, but also because of their more exposure to the polluted environment in general. In Bangladesh, for example, it is the working people who have to face more polluted air, drink contaminated water, cook with fuel belching obnoxious fumes, bathe in polluted water, and confront hazardous waste. The workers of the Hazaribag tanneries provide an extreme example of what workers often have to undergo in order to earn a living.

On this day, BEN hopes that both the environment and the workers’ movement of Bangladesh will be become aware of the common cause of these two movements and forge unity for achieving success.

BAPA and BEN have recently announced the Third International Conference on Bangladesh Environment (ICBEN) to be held on January 2-3, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. One of the topics of the conference is “Environment and the workers’ movement.” BEN hopes that representatives of the Bangladesh workers’ movement will take note and participate in the discussion to put forward workers’ views and interests with respect to the country’s environment.

BEN wishes all a joyous celebration of the May Day!

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