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Bangladesh's Green Radio heralds new era of environment education
Thursday May 23, 2013 9:23 AM, Sahana Ghosh, IANS

Nature lovers in Bangladesh can tune in to 89.6 FM for their daily dose of green awakening, courtesy a 45-minute programme which aims at bridging the gap between environmentalists and laymen by keeping them abreast of burning topics related to the sector.

"As our country has become the most vulnerable nation to climate change, we thought of making a dedicated programme on the environment to generate awareness among the people about issues like natural disasters and pollution and motivate them to make a greener earth," Nusrat Islam Khan, project officer of 89.6 FM's Green Radio project, told IANS.

Targeted at the youth, the initiative relates environmental stories sans the jargon from 7.15 a.m. to 8 a.m. every day through its programmes Green Hour, which is research based, and Green News, a daily update on the environment. Broadcast from Dhaka, the programme is relayed by the other seven 89.6 FM stations to ensure country-wide coverage.

"Sometimes scientific jargon makes it complicated for environmental stories to be communicated to the people. Green Hour is meant to build a bridge by simplifying scientific terms and describing them in simple language to the listeners in between discussions with experts or researchers," Khan said.

"FM radio listeners are mostly the youth; so we target them in Green Hour to take up activities oriented to the environment. At the same time, this is an infotainment radio show; so listeners can also enjoy some songs," Khan explained.

The response to the endeavour has been "very positive" among students and people in the rural areas, she said.

"The response has been very positive. This is a morning show and relays over most of the country. So, the farmers who work in the fields in the morning and college-going students can listen to the programme.

"Urban listeners give their feedback through e-mail and Facebook. The rural people don't give their feedback directly, but our field reports have found that they are also listening to the programme, Khan added.

Dealing with a gamut of topics like climate finance, climate justice, climate refugees, the media's role in environment protection and instances of natural and man-made disasters, Green Radio taps experts across the globe for insights.

"Several international researchers often come on our show and share their findings, inner stories and sometimes, their limitations. We do studio-based programmes as well as field reporting," Khan added.

She, however, lamented the absence of international collaborators.

"There has not been any international collaboration yet. Radio Today (the parent company) is self-financing the project. But we would like to enter into collaborations in future if any organizations show interest so that we can take it beyond our borders," Khan said.

Bangladesh's first private radio station, 89.6 FM, broadcasts from Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Cox's Bazar, Mymenshing, Khulna, Sylhet and Bogra.

(Sahana Ghosh can be contacted at sahana.g@ians.in)

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