Saturday, 1 April, 2023

Love for Sundarbans

Love for Sundarbans

The Sundarbans Day has been observed since 2001 on the occasion of Valentine’s Day on February 14th to inspire the people to love the world’s largest mangrove forest and its natural resources. Although the Sundarbans Day is not nationally recognised, the people in the vicinity of the Sundarbans such as Bagerhat, Khulna, and Satkhira districts observe the Day with much love and adoration. Discussions are also held to weigh the multi-pronged threats that the forest faces.

The Sundarbans appears as the saviour of Bangladesh in times of cyclones. But in recent years the very existence of the world heritage site seems to be in danger because of climate change, rise in saline water, loss of biodiversity, plundering of natural resources, poaching and so on.

The forest area is constantly being squeezed due to pressure of population and extension of farmland, while the number of wild animals and birds are declining critically, and the Sundari trees are being lost at an alarming rate due to environmental degradation.  Although the law enforcement agencies have made much headway in eradicating pirates from the Sundarbans, the same cannot be said about stopping poaching, plundering of forest resources and illegal fishing. Their predatory activities and looting of forest wealth are contributing to a faster degradation of forest resources, while the authorities remain indifferent to this colossal national loss. The government has introduced stricter penalties for poaching, but it has never been enforced strictly. Consequently, killing of wild animals is going on unabated. 

The forest guards who are entrusted to protect the forest resources are clearly failing to carry out their jobs properly. Allegations are also there that poachers can easily manage the forest guards.  Therefore, the government has to modernise forest guards and equip them with modern surveillance technologies. Besides, the rights and basic needs of the forest guards must not be ignored if we want them to work sincerely and diligently in preserving the forest resources.