Bangladesh’s natural landscape -- which includes its forestry and water-bodies -- is its most valuable asset.
Not only does it play an immense role in the fight against climate change, but many people are dependent on them for their livelihoods.
However, our forests and rivers have not been treated the way they should be, to say the least.
Recent studies show that Bangladesh’s total forest coverage has gone down to as low as 7%, hinting at massive deforestation taking place due to increased demands.
In the process, we have collectively failed to address the benefits forests provide, such as flood control and climate moderation, both of which have become serious issues we need to deal with immediately.
Thousands of people have been displaced as their homelands now remain underwater.
That is to say nothing of the deplorable conditions of our rivers, which have been injected with such massive amounts of industrial waste that many of them have now been rendered untreatable.
Failing to protect the environmental integrity of our country is a shame shared by us all.
Having said that, a proactive approach to climate change is still essential. One where agroforestry and social forestry are prioritized to actively increase Bangladesh’s total forest coverage and industries are properly penalized for the mistreatment of our water-bodies.
While there is no fixed number on how much forest coverage a nation should have (25% being the popular ideal percentage), there is no denying that, moving forward, administrative policies must reflect a collective effort to protect the natural ecosystem of our country.
We have witnessed far too much damage be dealt to our soil already, it’s time we began to heal it.