Thursday, 23 May, 2024
  Dhaka
Thursday, 23 May, 2024
The Daily Post
staistics on 22 years

32 blazes in the Sundarbans area

Staff Reporter

32 blazes in the Sundarbans area

- About 90 acres forest land burnt due to fire.

-One species of wild buffalo and fresh water crocodile, two species of deer and rhinoceros disappeared from Sundarbans.

‘The duty of forest department is to protect forest, wildlife. But they are giving more importance to the tourism industry around the forest’

ANM Moazzem Hossain, Chairman, Save the Nature of Bangladesh

 

In the last 22 years, about 32 small and big fires have occurred in the Sundarbans. An investigation committee was formed after the each fire has been brought under control. There also seen submission of investigation report. Most of the reports mention that the fire started by the beedi-cigarettes thrown away by fishermen and bawalis. After that, no visible action was taken by the forest department.

Forest officials said three recommendations were strongly made in the report of the inquiry committee formed at various times to prevent fires. The recommendations are three: digging of rivers and canals that merge with the localities adjacent to the Sundarbans, monitoring by constructing watch towers every two kilometers in the fire-prone areas, arranging barbed wire fencing along the side of the forest along the Bhola River in the Chandpai range.

Khulna range forest conservator Mihir Kumar Doe said, in fact, the Sundarbans have lost the characteristics of mangroves. Some areas are elevated. There is not much water in the tide. It dries up completely during low tide. In many places the vegetation is not growing properly. Many times the foliage is de-composted and fires occur. Again, while collecting honey and fish, there was a fire. Apart from this, fire incidents are also planned.

ANM Moazzem Hossain, chairman of Save the Nature of Bangladesh, said that the responsibility of the forest department is to protect the forest and wildlife. But they are giving more importance to the tourism industry around the forest. For this, various resorts, cottages are being built. In fact, it is not right for people to enter the virgin zone of the forest. Anyone can enter there now freely.

Moazzem Hossain also said that there are many reasons behind these fires. Groups associated with wildlife trafficking may also set fires in self-defense. Apart from this, forests are being destroyed for honey extraction and fishing. The dishonest officials of the forest department are involved in this. He thinks that it is necessary to make policies to protect the Sundarbans.

Meanwhile, a forest fire broke out in Amurbunia area of Chandpai range of East Sundarbans last Saturday afternoon. The forest department and villagers are working on clearing. However, Divisional Forest Officer of East Sundarban Division Kazi Muhammad Nurul Karim could not tell how the fire broke out in that part of the forest. He said, on Saturday afternoon, the forest workers saw smoke rising from the coil of fire in Amurbunia area of Chandpai range of Sundarbans. They immediately started extinguishing the fire. Local villagers have also joined the work of extinguishing the fire along with the forest workers. I can't say now what kind of plants are there in that area of the forest. Details will take time, report says.

Before this, lastly, on May 2, 2021, there was a forest fire in the Daser Bharni area of the Sharankhola range of Sundarbans. The fire was brought under control at 5:30 pm on May 6. Sundari, Gewa, Garan, and Keora trees and vines of 10 acres of this protected forest were burnt to ashes in the fire for four days.

According to the information of the forest department, about 90 acres of forest land have been burnt in Sundarbans 32 times in the last 22 years. Among them, a fire incident occurred in Dhansagar area on February 8, 2021. On May 2 of the same year, a fire broke out in the Bharni area of Das in the Sarankhola range. Before this, on May 26, 2017, a major fire incident took place in Abdullah's forest under Nangli Forest Camp of Chandpai Range in East Sundarbans. In that fire, about 5 acres of small trees and vines were burnt to ashes. In the same year, there was a fire incident in the madrasah.

 

Before this, in 2002, once in Cuttack in the Chandpai range of the eastern division of Sundarbans, twice in Nangli and Mandarbaria in the same range, 2 times in Pachakodalia, Sutar Khal area of Ghutabaria in 2005, 5 times in Terabeka, Amurbunia, Khurabaria, Pachakodalia and Dhansagar areas in 2006, Pachakodalia in 2007, 3 times in Nangli and Dumuria, once in Gulishakhali in 2010, twice in Nangli in 2011, once in Gulishakhali in 2014, 3 times in Nangli, Pachakoralia and Tulatla in 2016.

It should be noted that the Sundarbans is the World Heritage Site as well as the largest wetland in the world. The watershed of Sundarbans is one thousand 874.1 square kilometers, which is 31.15 percent of the entire Sundarbans. In 1992, the entire Sundarbans watershed was recognized as a Ramsar site by the United Nations. Apart from this, the sea area of Sundarbans is one thousand 603.2 square kilometers. There are 450 small and big rivers and canals in this water body, 6 species of dolphins including endangered Irrawaddy, 210 species of white fish, 24 species of shrimps, 14 species of crabs, 43 species of mollusks, and one species of lobster.

Meanwhile, one species of wild buffalo, two species of deer, two species of rhinoceros, and one species of freshwater crocodile have disappeared from the Sundarbans. During the coronavirus, the forest department has issued a red alert in the entire Sundarbans and banned tourists, fishermen, and foresters from entering the forest. The biodiversity of the Sundarbans was also under threat during this prohibition period.

 

ZH