Data source
Date of text
27 Mar 2002
Seat of court
Original language


Type of text
National - higher court
Reference number
WP 300 of 1995
Court name
Supreme Court of Bangladesh
air pollution, Air quality, noise pollution

This case dealt with vehicle pollution and the corresponding problems related to environment and health. The petitioners sought directions upon the respondents to take all adequate and effective measures to check pollutions caused due to the emissions of hazardous smokes from motor vehicles and the use of audible signaling devices giving unduly loud noise, to ensure that the motor cycles obtained certificates of fitness, to set a Bangladesh standard for petroleum ensuring the reductions of toxic and hazardous constituents from the same and to require all imported motor vehicles to be fitted with catalytic converters.
The case of the petition was that the environment and ecology of Bangladesh were being continuously threatened by the emissions of hazardous smokes and noises in the air from faulty and unfit motor vehicles lacking road worthiness as required by law. As a result, an unhealthy environment had been prevailing at many places. The major cities of the country were exposed to environmental hazards, the most threatening urban center being Dhaka. The air pollution of Dhaka City exceeded all acceptable limits causing serious health hazards to its inhabitants and irreparable damage to the physical environment and ecology.
The court noted that the current procedure of granting fitness certificate by the respondent was based on human judgment which was subject to error and corruption although the technology of ensuring fitness through automation was easily available and such measures had been adopted almost in every country. Many of the vehicles used by the respondents and other Government agencies did not have fitness certificate as per records. The degree of vehicular pollution was further aggravated by the quality of petroleum products used by the vehicles containing various constituents which were dangerous to health and could cause serious diseases like cancer.
The respondents contended that the Government had taken some decisions to control the air pollution of Dhaka City from faulty vehicles both from emission of hazardous smokes and incessant use of high noise making horns. The court, however, felt that some urgent preventive measures were necessary to halt environmental pollution and degradation of Dhaka City. Accordingly, the following directions were given, among others: To enforce restrictions against the use of hydraulic and other loud horns; to implement the decision of the respondents that all motor vehicles be fitted with catalytic converter and diesel particulate filter; to set a Bangladesh standard for petroleum in accordance with the international standards ensuring the reduction and removal of toxic and hazardous constituents from the same; and to phase out a certain type of polluting wheeler and to replace it with cleaner transport alternatives.