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22 May, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Declining biodiversity ‘robs people of livelihood’

Int’l Biodiversity Day today
ANISUR RAHMAN KHAN
Declining biodiversity ‘robs people of livelihood’

Bangladesh observes International Biodiversity Day today (Tuesday) at a time when the human encroachment is taking a toll on the country's biodiversity, which is essential for food security. Besides, the livelihoods of poor people dependent on the diversity of nature are seriously being threatened. Eighty per cent of the livelihood of the poor comes from natural resources, accounting for 40 per cent of the world economy, experts told The Independent yesterday.

The experts said anthropogenic pressures, uncontrolled dredging, hydrological intervention, pollution, chemical fertilizers directly affect habitats, biodiversity and aquifers. Besides, many species of birds, fish, wildlife, and flora and fauna are now extinct  in the country, they added.

“It's essential to develop sustainable biodiversity for human welfare. Nature is providing food, water, medicine, clothes and shelter to humans; even the air we breathe is from nature,” Abdus Sobhan, general secretary of Poribesh Bachao Andolan (POBA), told this correspondent yesterday.

He said biodiversity played an important role in poverty reduction in the country. “The livelihood of the poor is now at risk. Our rivers are  dying and forests are being destroyed indiscriminately. So, poor people cannot catch fish in the rivers or eat fruit from the forests. So, they are being deprived of their livelihoods,” he added.

Abdus Sobhan, also a former additional director general of the Department of Environment, said: “Many civilisations developed besides rivers or forests. But food security is currently at risk. We have 57 common rivers, but are not getting a just share of water from the upstream country. While nature is being destroyed during the dry season due to lack of water, excessive water is destroying people’s property and natural resources during monsoon.”

It was essential to ensure food security for all to make Bangladesh a country free of hunger and poverty within 2021 by conserving biodiversity, he observed.

Dr Md Redwanur Rahman, a fellow of the Ecology and Biodiversity Research Laboratory under Rajshahi University, said: “Bangladesh is exceptionally endowed with a vast variety of flora and fauna due to its unique geophysical location.”

Poverty and population growth, absence of a proper land use policy, and overexploitation of natural resources are the major causes of land degradation in the country, he explained.

Rural poverty, illegal wood extraction, overexploitation, poor forest management, lack of trained personnel and lack of awareness about biodiversity are also major causes behind nature’s destruction, he pointed out.

Referring to the Modhupur forest, Rahman said that more than 85 per cent of it has been cleared in the last 40 years, though the forest was rich in flora, fauna and natural resources.

As a result, the forest has shrunk and the livelihood of people dependent on it has also been affected, he added.

The Chalan Beel, he said, was rich in water resources, but the original shape of the historic waterbody has dramatically change because of misuse of natural resources.

Already, 12 wildlife species have become extinct in Bangladesh. In addition, 40 mammal, 41 bird, 58 reptile, and eight amphibian species are listed in the Red Data book of threatened animals of Bangladesh, he added.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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