Govt is working to conserve marine biodiversity: Shahab

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Dhaka, Sept 27: Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin on Sunday said the government has taken a number of significant steps for the sustainable management and protection of the marine environment and the overall aquatic biodiversity.

“The government has declared 1,738 sq km of the Swatch of No Ground in the South Bay as a Marine Protected Area, which has helped in the conservation and breeding of endangered marine dolphins, whales and sharks,” he said, addressing as the chief guest the inauguration of ‘Underwater Nature Exhibition and Discussion’.

The discussion was organized by ‘Save our Sea’ on the occasion of World Tourism Day 2020, said a press release here.

The minister also said that the work is underway to declare around 1,743 square km area adjacent to St. Martin’s Island as a Marine Protected Area with a view to conserving its biodiversity.

“A number of significant steps, including sea biodiversity assessment project, have been taken for the sustainable management of the overall aquatic biodiversity, especially dolphin conservation in the Bay of Bengal,” Shahab added.

The minister said that the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has declared St. Martin’s Island, Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf Beach and the Sundarbans as Environmentally Critical Areas (ECA), with a view to protect the coastal areas of Bangladesh.

“Various programs, including cleanliness activities, are being implemented in these areas for environmental protection …It will be possible to conserve the biodiversity of these areas through proper implementation of the ECA announced by the government,” he added.

Stating that 52 coastal pollution hotspots have been identified to prevent those from pollution, Shahab said, “The present Awami League government is implementing a landmark 100-year delta plan aimed at building a prosperous Bangladesh in the future .We have to continue tourism by conserving the environment and biodiversity thinking about the future.”

Cox’s Bazar Development Authority Chairman Lt Col (Retd) Forkan Ahmed, LDMC, PSCA presided over the online exhibition and webinar.

Dean of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Science of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University Prof Dr Kazi Ahsan Habib, Professor of Department of Oceanography of University of Chittagong Dr Mohammad Muslim Uddin, Professor of Department of Geography and Environmental Studies of Rajshahi University Rakib Ahmed, Professor of Department of Maritime Tourism and Hospitality Management of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Maritime University Dr Syed Rashidul Hasan, Associate Professor of Department of Fisheries Management of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agricultural University Dr Dinesh Chandra Saha and Blue Economy researcher Dilruba Chowdhury also spoke, among others, at the webinar.

The webinar was hosted by Muhammad Anwarul Haque, General Manager of marine conservation organization ‘Save Hour Sea’.

The online exhibition showcased still and video images of divers of Bangladesh and other countries, and focused on underwater beauty captured at different times by photographers.

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