Mentioning that the country has now 17.62 percent of its land area under forest cover, Environment and Forests Minister Anwar Hossain Manju on Monday told Parliament that work is on to increase it to 20 percent by 2020, reports UNB.
"The country's total land areas are 26,000 square kilometres, which is 17.62 percent of the total land," he said in a written answer placed in the House to an unstarred question from independent MP Rahim Ullah (Feni-3).
"According to the 7th Five-year Plan, forestation and forest conservation programmes are going on to increase the forest cover to 20 percent by 2020," the minister, who is now in Germany to attend the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties, said in the written answer.
Noting that the scope for increasing the forest land is limited in the country, he said trees are being planted in new land that emerged in the Bay of Bengal along the coastal belt to enhance to the forest cover.
In reply to another unstarred question from Awami League MP Momotaz Begom (Manikganj-2), the minister said the government has taken an initiative to implement a 'Zero Discharge Policy' for all industrial units by 2030 for protecting rivers from industrial effluents.
He said the untreated liquid industrial waste is mainly polluting the rivers surrounding Dhaka city.
Manju said installing effluent treatment plant (ETP) and taking environmental clearance were made mandatory for all the industrial units, which will discharge liquid waste.
He said some 291 shallow engine-driven boats ply the Buriganga River regularly, polluting its water.
The minister also said billboards have been installed on the banks of the river while leaflets are being distributed among people living along the bank to create awareness against the movement of the engine boats in the river.