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In the Global South, urban policies are heavily influenced by colonial heritages, and people often experience citizens-detached urban development initiatives. The environmental movement is seen as a new addition that might contribute to society’s efforts to achieve equal urban environmental opportunities. The geographical focus of this article is the megacity Dhaka, which is the social, political, and economic capital of Bangladesh. Unfortunately, this hyper-urbanised megacity suffers from a large poverty-stricken population, leading to a gap in environmental services between the poor and rich. In recent years, Dhaka has experienced a growing momentum with the environmental movement, demanding environmental rights and justice. Based on long-term empirical research, this article shows that even though local marginalised people were the key agents of environmental protests and demonstrations, the movements are usually initiated by very small and relatively homogenous social and political elites, who share the common social, cultural, economic, and political identities.

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability on April 29, 2022, available online: