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At least 87 percent wetlands lost in seven north-eastern districts in 32 years

25 June 2022

Staff Reporter  :
At least 87 percent area of the wetlands in seven north-eastern districts have been lost due to various constructions in the last 32 years, a report conducted by Institute for Planning and Development (IPD) said on Friday.
The report said that unplanned constructions in Haor areas, change of river flow and siltation in the major rivers in north-eastern region were responsible for the flood.
The report was revealed in a dialogue on the changes of the Haor areas in the last few decades held in the Jatiya Press Club in the capital.  
Two students of BUET 0 Injamam Ul Haque and Maria Mehrin conducted a research on 373 haors since March, 2021. They analysed the satellite images of 1988, 2006, 2013 and 2020.
In their report, they found that there are 105 hoars in Sylhet while 14 hoars are in Maulvibazar.
Prof Adil Mohammad Khan, Executive Director of Instittue for Planning and Development in his presentation said, "One-fifth of the haor areas has been reduced since 1988 due to various construction work. As a result the water conservation capacity has been reduced there."
"Our findings said that 87 percent of the wetland areas in seven districts have been lost due to various construction works.  When haors cannot conserve water, it spills over and causes flood," he added.
He said that the haors should be protected at any cost as this area is considered 'special category' under Ramsar Convention.
"We can save and protect the haors and its biodiversity if we can stop unabated construction work, ensure free flow of water and create public awareness. The government should think of it to save the haors," he added.
IPD director Ariful Islam said, "Inter-river connection, change of river flow, siltation and lack of the capacity to conserve water were responsible for the flood this year in Sylhet region." "The development work will differ in terms of its geographical location. The development activity of haor and the coastal will be different. So proper planning is necessary here," he added.
Jahangirnagar University Professor Farhadur Reza said, "Heavey rain was a major cause of the flood. If we could make a probable project about how much rainfall will take place due to climate change, we could take some preemptive measures to combat the disaster."
"We should think of the necessity of roads and other constructions in the haor areas considering its biodiversity. We need a master plan for the haor areas before planning for construction work there," he said.

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