Some 4300 acres of hills and forests were cut down to make temporary shelters for Rohingyas and ensure facilities and cooking fuel for them in Ukhia and Teknaf of Cox's Bazar threatening the biodiversity of the ecologically critical areas of the country, says a new report of the United Nations, reports UNB.
Some of the key impacts are likely to become irreversible if measures are not taken immediately, the report said.
Since the influx in August 2017, coupled with the host community and Rohingyas from past influxes, the crisis-hit population is now almost 1.5 million in Cox's Bazar, creating a massive pressure on the already dilapidated environment there which still remains significantly underfunded, according to the report.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Women with the support from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change jointly carried out the study titled 'Environmental Impact of Rohingya Influx.
The report was unveiled at a high-level discussion here on Tuesday.
Environment and Forests Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud attended the launching ceremony as the chief guest.
UNDP Bangladesh Sudipto Mukerjee and Country Representative, UN Women, Bangladesh Shoko Ishikawa were, among others, present.
The report highlighted the critical impacts of one of the world's biggest influx of above 700,000 Rohingyas on the environment of Cox's Bazar and recommended measures for migration, restoration and conversation.
Of the total 1502 hectares of forests, about 793 hectares have been encroached, said the report.
Around 3000-4000 acres (1200-1600 ha) of hilly land in Teknaf-Ukhia Himchari watershed area have been cleared of vegetation.