Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Shahab Uddin said the government is taking and implementing various activities under various projects to protect the haors by reducing the damage caused by climate change. To this end, the people of the haor area are being organized and village conservation teams are being formed.
Environmental protection activities are underway by creating aquatic forests in the haor area. Wetland sanctuaries have been established through re-excavation of bill-canals. Tree saplings have been planted at Hakaluki Haor to protect homes and resources in the haor area from the onslaught of waves and to establish a green fence along the embankment. Solar powered irrigation pumps have been installed to irrigate local farmers to mitigate the effects of climate change. Small capital grants have been provided for alternative income generating activities of the people dependent on natural resources. In addition, the families have been provided direct material assistance from the project for alternative income generating activities and various trainings have been provided to enhance their skills, the minister said.
He was speaking as the chief guest at a program titled ‘Climate Change and Our Future: Policymakers Facing Youth’ organized by Environment and Haor Development Organization at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity’s Nasrul Hamid Auditorium on Thursday (December 30) afternoon.
Tanguar Haor in Sunamganj district and Hakaluki haor in Moulvibazar district have been declared as ‘Environmentally Critical Areas’. Tanguar Haor was declared as the second Ramsar site in Bangladesh and the 1,031st Ramsar site in the world on January 20, 2020.
Cutting or extraction of natural forests and vegetation in the area, killing of all kinds of hunting and wildlife; Catching or collecting oysters, corals, turtles and other wildlife; All kinds of activities that destroy the habitat of animals and plants; All work that could damage or alter the natural features of land and water; Establishment of industries or establishments polluting the soil, water, air and noise; Any activity harmful to fish and other aquatic animals; Disposal of sewage and liquid wastes and solid wastes of houses, industries and other establishments in river-reservoir-lake-wetlands; The minister said that extraction of any other mineral resources, including stone, by mechanical or manual means is prohibited.
The ‘Environmentally Critical Areas Management Rules-2018’ has already been issued for the purpose of proper management of these Environmentally Critical Areas. The National Committee for Management of Environmentally Critical Areas, District Committees, Upazila Committees, Union Coordination Committees and Village Conservation Teams have been formed to implement the rules. The government is implementing the natural resource and environment management activities of the haor through these committees.
Replying to another question, the Environment Minister said that the Government of Bangladesh under the strong leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been implementing various activities to protect the environment and tackle the adverse effects of climate change in Bangladesh with its own funds by formulating detailed plans and strategies.
In order to implement climate adaptation and mitigation projects in Bangladesh, it has allocated about US ৮ 480 million or Tk 3,852 crore from 2009 to FY 2021. About 600 projects have been undertaken by various ministries, government departments and agencies with the help of this fund to address the adverse effects of climate change.
Climate spending has also almost doubled in the last seven years. In Bangladesh, the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) is being formulated to determine the adaptive strategies and actions to be taken in the long run to tackle climate change. Consultative meetings are being held at grassroots level across the country to formulate NAP where special importance is being given to the youth in determining what to do to protect future generations.
The minister said the government is planting more than seven crore trees a year. He called upon all to plant more trees and said that the government would succeed in protecting the environment through the participation of all.
Chairman of the Rural Action-Supporting Foundation, Prof. Khaliquzzaman Ahmed was present as a special guest at the meeting chaired by the Director General of the Department of Environment. Ashraf Uddin. The concept paper was presented by Kasmir Reza, President, Environment and Haor Development Organization.