Dhaka, Bangladesh
Sundarbans must be saved: PM

Sundarbans must be saved: PM

Highlighting the importance of the Sundarbans for the country's existence, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday said whatever project the government takes for development it does that keeping this mangrove forest in mind so that it does not get affected in any way, reports UNB. "Whatever project we take, at least we put a special attention to the Sundarbans so that this forest must not be affected in any way... we've taken all our projects keeping this in our mind," she said. The Prime Minister was speaking at the function of World Environment Day, Tree Fair and Campaign for Tree Plantation at Bangabandhu Internat-ional Conference Center (BICC). Sheikh Hasina said the Sundarbans is not only a heritage for Bangladesh, it is also important for the country's existence...it survives for the Sundarbans. "To expand the Sundarbans, we've already taken an initiative to create artificial mangrove forests." The Prime Minister also mentioned that she has given directives to the authorities concerned so that such forests can be expanded to the country's all coastal areas. She mentioned that her government has taken various steps to preserve the bio-diversity of the Sundarbans and introduced smart patrolling to contain forest crimes inside it. "We've taken initiatives to create alternative employment opportunities for the local people who are dependent on the Sundarbans for their livelihood so that unnecessary tree cutting in the Sundarbans comes to an end," Hasina said. Earlier, the Prime Minister handed over 'Bangabandhu Award for Wildlife Conservation', 'National Environment Award' and Prime Minister's National Award for Tree Plantation at the programme. Environment and Forests Minister Anwar Hossain Manju, Deputy Minister Abdullah Al Islam Jakob and Secretary Istiaque Ahmed, among others, spoke on the occasion. Putting importance to effective waste management in industrial zones, the Prime Minister said she has already directed for ensuring central effluent treatment plants there. She said her government has made it mandatory in every industrial zone to build ETPs to ensure waste management centrally, and directed all concerned to strictly monitor so that no one can violate the government's directives. Terming Bangladesh the biggest delta in the world, Hasina said hills, seas, rivers and canals, and plants and animals have made it full of biodiversity, and this biodiversity provides all necessary food, clothes and housing materials for people. She said the country's biodiversity is now facing a challenge due to its over population, indiscriminate felling of trees and extraction of natural resources, cutting of hills, filling of water bodies, reduction in navigability, misuse of chemical fertilisers and pesticides in agriculture and above all unplanned urbanisation and industrialisation. Mentioning a two-way measure to protect the environment, the Prime Minister said her government has taken very effective steps to reduce the environmental pollution on one hand and taken initiatives to face adverse impact of the climate change through tree plantation and creating afforestation on the other. She said her government has recently enacted the Bangladesh Biodiversity Act, 2016 to preserve biodiversity in the country and ensure sustainable extraction of the resources. The government has also taken effective measures to conserve natural resources and natural environment of the country enriched with its diversity through sustainable management. Hasina urged all to plant at least one fruit, one timber and one herbal sapling to maintain the country's natural and ecological balance and make it a green-economy dependent golden Bangla. Deputy Commission of Barisal Dr Gazi Md Saifuzzaman and Mokarram Hossain of Kalabagan, Dhaka received the National Environment Award in the individual category while Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd got it the institution category for their contributions towards protecting the environment and checking pollution. Professor of Botany at Chittagong University Dr Shafique Haidar Chowdhury, journalist Ataur Rahman Kajal of Srimangal, and Rinku Rani Mandal, on behalf of the Village Tiger Response Team (VTRT), received the Bangabandhu Award for the Wildlife Conservation-2017. She also handed over cheques among the beneficiaries of the social afforestation programme. Later, the Prime Minister 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. The theme of this year's World Environment Day is 'Connecting to the Nature' while the theme of the National Tree Plantation Campaign is 'Those who plant tree become rich'.

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