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Stop destroying the Sundarbans

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07th-Apr-2018       
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IT appears nothing can stop the government from harming the nature and the environment of the Sundarbans. Showing utter disregard to nature conservation, by now, as many as 190 industrial units within 10km of the world's largest mangrove forest have been approved by the government. Plans for setting up oil refinery, cement factories, ship building to LPG plant to even Brick Kilns all are in the list.
Most alarmingly we are witnessing how the government is deliberately violating environmental laws.  Bangladesh declared the 10-kilometre periphery of the mangrove forest as the ECA (Ecologically Critical Area) in 1999 - a couple of years after the UNESCO listed it as a natural world heritage site. As per Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act 1995 (Amended in 2010), no one is allowed to set up any factory in the ECA.
It's a big question, if the law was intended to violate it what was the need to pass it in the first place? The HC on August 24 last year directed the government not to renew environmental clearance certificate of any industry within 10-km periphery of the Sundarbans and to submit a list of the establishments already set up in the area. But its words only fell to deaf ears.
The process to pollute the Sundarbans has already begun with 154 industrial units being in operation. Despite repeated national and international concerns and protests, nothing is changing.
The government should immediately relocate all industrial units from the ecologically critical area immediately, as it's a sheer demand of people. With less than 7 per cent forest reserves left in the country, we cannot afford to helplessly watch the destruction of our only remaining major forest. The Sundarbans already has a fragile ecosystem as freshwater flow into the forest has been drastically reduced, resulting in substantial increases in siltation and salinity that are threatening the overall balance of the ecosystem.
Nature's revenge on its destruction is not sweet. We will have to take lessons from the recent environmental disasters occurring in Bangladesh.

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