Internet trends that change the world for the better
The Sundarbans forest, lying in the delta of Bay of Bengal, is a precious possession held by Bangladesh, which inhabits 6,000 km2 area of its land in the country, out of its entire expanse of 10,000 square kilometers. It is a coastal fringe of mangrove forest created by the confluence of Ganges, Hooghly, Padma, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers across southern Bangladesh until it meets the sea, making it the largest mangrove forest in the world.
Sundarbans, which translates to “Beautiful Forest”, does the absolute justice to its name. Having abundant biodiversity, the Sundarbans is home to a broad number of flora and fauna (245 genera, 334 plant species, and 40 species of mammals, 260 species of birds, 35 species of reptiles), including the world famous Royal Bengal Tiger.
The Sundarbans also plays a crucial role in protecting the southern coastal belt of Bangladesh from the effects of climate change, including coastal erosion, rising salinity levels and acts as a protective belt against cyclones and storm surges.
It is no news that tourism is prominent in beautiful areas across the world. Spotting the mighty Royal Bengal Tiger being the centre of interest of tourism, about 1.22 Lac domestic and foreign tourists have visited the Sundarbans from 2016 to 2017 and the number only continues to increase.
While tourism plays an essential part of a growing economy, it is the dominant cause of environmental degradation and pollution. Kotka beach, located in the south-east corner of the Sundarbans is a popular spot for sightseers, which makes it one of the most littered places in the region. Starting with the highest number of plastic bottles, cigarette filters, empty cans, Styrofoam containers and what not, the trash truly takes away the purity of the place.
A group of highly influenced and impassioned individuals from an Environment based club, The Green Planet Club of Independent University, Bangladesh, conducted the on-trend Trash Tag Challenge on a field trip to Sundarbans, organized by the Department of Environmental Science, Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB).
The Trash Tag Challenge has become a viral trend across the world which is prompting people to clean up littered places and post a before/after picture. This movement is sweeping across the world and encouraging people to show respect towards the environment by cleaning it up.
The team from the Green Planet Club set out to Kotka beach at the dawn of the day and collected over 20 bags of trash along the beachside with help from a line-up of other students from the department. Students teamed up in groups of 3 or 4 and scouted to different parts of the beach to collect trash; each group was given a trash bag and a pair of gloves to avoid the toxicity of the outdated and decaying garbage. Three honourable faculties from the Department of Environmental Science, IUB accompanied the team throughout the event and helped bring the collected trash onboard for proper treatment.
After a series of all different kinds of challenges, the Trash Tag is truly the trend that the world needed—motivating people to clean polluted wilderness. It just takes a little bit of individual initiative to clean up a place and the difference is fascinating. The Green Planet Club did their part and now the floor belongs to everyone out there. Mother Earth needs each one of us and as the saying goes - be a part of the solution and not the pollution.
Syeda Warda Ahmed is a student at Independent University, Bangladesh and a member of the Green Planet Club.