• Friday, Dec 13, 2019
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Erosion by Shibsa River threatens West Sundarbans

  • Published at 10:13 pm October 30th, 2019
File photo of Siba river in Sundarbans Dhaka Tribune

Riverbank erosion has taken a serious turn in the area, threatening a 15 to 20-kilometre stretch

Various species of trees, including the iconic Sundari after which Sundarbans is thought to have been named, in the western part of the mangrove forest in Khulna face threats of being devoured by the Shibsha River.

Riverbank erosion has taken a serious turn in the area, threatening a 15 to 20-kilometre stretch.

Local fishermen said the riverbank erosion has intensified in recent years and blamed the forest department of doing nothing to protect the mangrove forest.

During a recent visit, the UNB correspondent found that the erosion started from the eastern bank of the river. The most affected areas are located in Shekhertek and Adachai Patrol Outpost.

In the affected areas, many big trees have been gobbled up by the river. Two chars – land formed from silt in the middle of a river – have risen inside the Sundarbans.

Prof Abdullah Harun Chowdhury of Environmental Sciences department at Khulna University, has been conducting research on the mangrove forest for a long time.

He said the quantity of salt in water and soil of the mangrove in western regions of Nolian, Khulna and Satkhira, is increasing day by day.

“As a result, the soil loses its bonding and leads to intensified river erosion. The river is losing its navigability as silt continues to accumulate on its bottom. This also causes frequent bursting of the river’s banks,” he said.

Md Basir Al Mamun, a forest officer of Nolian and Shibsa Rivers Range, said a survey to assess the damage caused by the recent river erosion is yet to be carried out. “However, the forest has increased by one percent according to a survey conducted from 2000 to 2014,” he said.

Md Moinuddin Khan, a forest conservator of Khulna Range, said riverbank erosion in mangrove forest is a natural phenomenon. “We’ll contact the Water Development Board (about erosion and request it to) take necessary measures, he added.