Environmental pollution adversely affects on biodiversity in the Sundarbans
Pinky Akter : The Sundarbans, a sanctuary for animals, is more affected by climate change than by human pollution. As the altitude is lower than the sea level, whenever the sea level rises, it directly affects the Sundarbans. The flow of fresh water in the forest is decreasing.
Excess of silt and salt water in rivers is increasing. As a result biodiversity is facing severe loss. Due to severe floods every year, the areas of Sundarbans are losing land due to erosion. Land erosion has increased in the southern region.
Cutka and Mandar Bari areas are especially being eroded and disappearing into the sea. By this, the habitat of the animals is shrinking.
In addition to climate change, the rivers, canals and streams flowing through the beautiful forest are being polluted by humans in various ways. Due to construction, pollution from ships, the amount of oil is increasing along with salinity in the river water which is a threat to life and nature.
According to a study, around 2010, the amount of oil per litre of water in Pashur River was the maximum of 10.8 milligrams. And now it has increased almost six fold to 68 mg.
In addition, on 9 December 2014, the Sundarbans suffered massive damage due to the sinking of a tank carrying 350,000 litres of furnace oil. Later there were several incidents of shipwrecks of potash, coal and clinker in rivers flowing through the forest.
Excess salinity in water, storm surges are making it unsafe for animals to drink water inside the forest, the number and intensity of storms has increased compared to before, and animal reproduction is also being disrupted.
Professor of Zoology Department of Jahangirnagar University, Monirul H Khan, said the Sundarbans environment is being irreparably damaged by humans.
An average of 3 to 5 tigers are killed by poachers every year. Poachers hunt tigers primarily for their skin and bones which are sold for millions.
In China and East Asian countries, the huge demand for tiger organs is increasing, and the world’s endangered animals, the tigers, are dying. According to environmentalists, after 1975 the Sundarbans did not have any more tigers.
In 1999, up to 10 km around the forest was declared an ‘Environmentally Critical Area’ or ECA. And according to the Environment Protection Act, any type of factory is prohibited in ECA.
Whereas in a document presented to the court by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change itself, it is said that 190 factories have valid permission to set up within 10 kilometers of the Sundarbans.