Tuesday, 30 November, 2021
E-paper

Destruction of forests by Rohingyas

Giving shelter to displaced people coming from across the borders with Myanmar has its price. The host country has to provide them with food, water, toilet facilities and security. This drains out a lot of money from the public exchequer even if aid comes from other countries in the shape of hard currency or food and clothes. Besides, there are also some hidden costs that the host country has to bear even though these costs cannot be measured with a casual look at the situation. The hidden cost of sheltering Rohingya population is beginning to manifest in various ways. One of them is the destruction of the forest resources on very large areas of land. They are burning firewood rampantly to cook food three times a day, thereby destroying the ecosystem there. Local residents and environmentalists have expressed deep concern at the rate trees are being cut down for firewood and making houses.


Rohingyas are reportedly burning 500 lakh kilograms of firewood for cooking meals every day. This is happening because of lack of gas supply in the camps and as a result refugees have no other alternative but to burn wood.


The refugees are also causing a great deal of damage to the forest by way of killing underfoot the young shoots of trees.


Another danger is lurking in the corner. Rohingya refugees are cutting hills indiscriminately. This, combined with felling down of tree, increases the chances of landslides, the consequences of which hardly need to be elaborated.  


The other hidden cost is the amount of water about one million refugees have to consume in a day. Obviously Bangladesh government has to arrange that much water on a daily basis. In addition to that, we have to take into consideration the kitchen waste and human soil that has to be properly disposed of by the authority. These hidden costs are not seen by the people or local and foreign media.  As such, the need for the refugees to go back to Myanmar through proper channel is being strongly felt by all concerned.