It calls for swift measures to save the Sundarbans
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has called for effective enforcement of constitutional and legal obligations, especially environmental laws, to protect the country’s biodiversity and environment.
The Bangladesh chapter of the Berlin-based organisation pleaded to the government and other stakeholders for taking swift measures to save the Sundarbans drawing attention to the World Environment Day theme ‘biodiversity’, said a press release issued on Thursday.
“As biodiversity is declining due to lack of proper implementation of the existing legal framework for environmental protection in Bangladesh, environmental pollution is increasing similarly at an alarming rate,” said TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman.
Ahead of World Environment Day that falls on Friday, TIB expressed grave concern about country’s low ranking in the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2018. Bangladesh was positioned second lowest at 179th among 180 countries.
Dr Iftekharuzzaman noted that Bangladesh will survive if the Sundarbans survive and said, “This natural reserve has been permanently put at risk by setting up various industrial establishments, including coal-based power plants.”
He stressed the need for proper enforcement of environmental laws in the conservation of the Sundarbans and biodiversity.
“It must be ensured by closing down all industries and factories already established and under construction in the Sundarbans and other environmentally critical areas of the country,” he added.
According to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, a total of 416,256 acres of forest land has been destroyed in the country since 1989, of which 158,031 hectares have been allotted to various government and non-government organisations and 268,256 acres of forest have been encroached.
Due to rampant deforestation, 39 species of wildlife have already become extinct in Bangladesh and about 30 more species, including the Royal Bengal Tiger are endangered.
There are a number of laws related to environment and biodiversity in Bangladesh including the Environment Conservation Act 1995, the Environment Court Act 2010, the Forest Act, the Wildlife (Conservation and Security) Act 2012 and Bangladesh Biodiversity Act 2017.
This year's theme is biodiversity—a concern that is both urgent and existential. Recent events—from bushfires in Brazil, the United States, and Australia, locust infestations across East Africa, and now a global pandemic—demonstrate the interdependence of humans and the webs of life in which they exist.
World Environment Day has been celebrated every year on June 5 since 1974, engaging governments, businesses, celebrities, and citizens to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue.