Govt concerned over UNESCO move about Sundarbans

Special Correspondent

18th June, 2019 10:18:53 printer

The government has expressed resentment over ‘conspiracy’ against the world’s largest mangrove forest the Sundarbans, also a world heritage site.

The ministry of environment, forest and climate change is unhappy with the UNESCO’s move to put the Sundarbans on a list of natural sites in danger.

Environment, forest and climate change minister Md Shahab Uddin, deputy minister Habibun Nahar, forest and environment secretary Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdhury, director general of environment Dr AKM Rafique Ahmad and senior officials concerned attended a press conference at the ministry on Tuesday in observance of tree plantation campaign.

The tree plantation campaign will start on June 20 and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the programme at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital.

Speaking at the press conference, forest and environment minister Md Shahab Uddin said the Sundarbans will not be affected after implementation of the coal-fired power plant in Rampal.

He said the government has already reserved 52 percent area of the Sundarbans to protect the mangrove forest. The rest 48 percent areas will be opened for fishing and other activities, the minister said.

“Our areas of forest will be increased to 22 percent from 17 percent due to reservation and protection of forest,” he said.

He said the government has already taken initiative to conduct strategic environmental assessment (SEA) for Rampal power plant.

But surprisingly, a group is engaged in a conspiracy against the Sundarbans as well as Rampal power plant, he said.

The mangrove forest Sundarbans will not suffer due to Rampal power plant, the minister said.

“I think it’s time to find out the conspirators against the Sundarbans,” he said.

The forest secretary at the press conference said the government considers enacting a new law on air pollution.