Govt takes projects by giving special attention to Sundarbans: PM

DHAKA, June 4, 2017 (BSS) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called upon the people to maintain natural balance and said her government is taking projects by giving special attention to the Sundarbans so that the world's largest mangrove forest is not affected in any way.

"The Sundarbans was declared as a world heritage site in 1997 during the past Awami League government and we have been working to protect this heritage ... whatever project the government takes for development of the country it always put especial attention on Sundarbans so that this forest is not affected," she said

The prime minister was addressing the inaugural function of the World Environment Day and the Environment Fair-2017 and the National Tree Plantation Campaign and Tree Fair-2017 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre here this morning.

The Ministry of Environment and Forest arranged the function.

Environment and Forest Minister Anwar Hossain Manju, Deputy Minister for Environment and Forest Abdullah Al Islam Jacob and Secretary of the ministry Ishtiaq Ahmed, Director General of the Department of Environment Raisul Alam Mandal and Chief Conservator of Forest Shafiul Alam Chowdhury spoke on the occasion.

The World Environment Day will be observed in the country tomorrow as elsewhere in the globe with the theme "Connecting People to the Nature" and the slogan "I'm with nature".

The thee-month-long National Tree Plantation Campaign began in the country today with the theme 'Brikhkhoropan Kore Je, Sampadshali Hoy Se' (Those who plant trees become rich).

Sheikh Hasina said Sundarbans is not a heritage for Bangladesh only, for this the country is still surviving. "To expand the Sundarbans, we have already taken initiative to create artificial mangrove forests," she said.

The prime minister also mentioned that she has given directives to the

authorities concerned so that this kind of forest can be expanded in all coastal areas.

She said that the government has taken various steps to preserve the

biodiversity of the Sundarbans. "Measures have been taken for smart

patrolling to contain forest related crime," she said.

The premier said the government has taken initiatives to create alternative employment opportunity for the local people who are dependent on Sundarbans for their livelihood so that trees are not cut in Sundarbans unnecessarily.

"A co-management system has been introduced in the Sundarbans alongside developing environment tourism," she said.

At the function, the prime minister handed over awards to the winners of the National Environment Award-2017, the Brikhkhoropane Pradhanmontrir Jatiya Puroshkar-2016 and the Bangabandhu Award for Wild Life Conservation-2017.

Dr Gazi Md Saifuzzman, deputy commissioner of Barisal and Mokarram Hossain of Kalabagan in Dhaka, got the National Environment Award-2017 in individual category and Square Pharmaceutical received the award in institutional category for their contributions to protecting environment and checking pollution.

The prime minister also handed over cheques to two social afforestation beneficiaries.

The prime minister urged the people to maintain natural balance and plant at least three trees -- one fruit bearing, one timber and another herbal --to maintain natural and ecological balance of the country and make it green-economy dependent Golden Bangladesh.

"I would like to call upon every person of the country, let's come to build this country beautifully and greenery ... we are moving ahead economically and we've to work so that we can advance by maintaining environment and biodiversity and we could be an example in the world in this regard, " she said.

While calling upon the people to plant trees, Sheikh Hasina said there is different happiness in plucking fruits from own trees.

"I have also planted mango trees and strawberry on the rooftop of

Ganabhaban ... what a pleasure I get when I pluck mangoes from that trees and I want that you would enjoy that happiness," she said.

Putting importance on effective waste management in the industrial zones, the prime minister said she has already directed to ensure Central Effluent Treatment Plant there.

She said her government has made it compulsory to build central effluent treatment plant (ETP) in every industrial zone to ensure waste management centrally and directed concerned all to monitor strictly so that none could disobey the directives of the government in this regard.

She said water recycling has started in residential and industrial areas. But many people are not habituated it and they don't want to do it, rather they want to dodge it. "So strict vigilance will have to be given so that none can evade it," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said her government recently enacted Bangladesh Biodiversity Act, 2016 to preserve biodiversity in the country and sustainable extraction of the resources.

Terming Bangladesh as the biggest delta in the world, she said hills, sea, rivers and canals, plants and animals have made this delta full of bio-diversity, and this biodiversity provides all necessary food, clothes and housing materials for the people.

The premier said the biodiversity of the country is now facing a challenge due to its over population, indiscriminate chopping of trees and extraction of natural resources, cutting of hills, filling of waterbodies, reduction of navigability, misuse of chemical fertilisers and pesticides in agriculture and above all unplanned urbanisation and industrialisation.

Mentioning the two way measures to protect environment, Sheikh Hasina said her government has taken very effective steps to reduce environment pollution in one side, while initiative has also been taken to face adverse impact of the climate change through tree plantation and creating afforestation.

Later, the premier planted a jackfruit sapling at the BCCI compound marking the national tree plantation campaign.

She also inaugurated the National Environment Fair and National Tree Fair -2017 at Sher-e Bangla Nagar.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)