Poisonous Frogs

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The scientists are in serious stress to tackle the nuisance of small poisonous frogs in Australian native. A group of scientists of Charles Darwin University in United Kingdom in their research said the small poisonous frogs are killing snakes and crocodiles, raising concern for bio-diversity.

When the snakes swallow them to meet their hunger, the small frogs spread poison inside the snake’s body and eventually the snake dies, said the report. The scientists said that they were concerned when they worked with the crocodiles of Victoria River and Bulow River in Northern territory. The number of crocodiles, small in size (male 1.7 meter while female crocodile only 0.7 meter) known as Pigmy, a rare species was 28 in 2007 but the number came down to 18 after one year.

The scientists could not specify the actual reasons behind such reduction of the crocodiles but after the presence of such frogs in the rivers, the number of crocodiles is coming down. Incidentally, Due to shortage of Food, the crocodiles eat up the frogs and they die, said the scientists. The frogs are advancing towards East-South Australia with a speed of 50 kilometers per year, the scientists informed.

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Monpura, A best and attractive island is located at Bhola district in Bangladesh. Its have a historical background. Portuguese pirates used to take shelter in the Monpura Island before 600 years ago. People from Bhola, Laxmipur and Noakhali started living the island after Portuguese’s left.

Bhola is one the largest island in Bangladesh which is situated the most south parts in country. The 20 charlands in the 350-square kilometer island on the Meghna which Bay of Bengal are very closed and now green sector enclosed by sea. It’s presenting an extraordinary beauty which might not be seen in any other southern part of the Bangladesh.  The main land of Monpura is Bhola which was created by poli of the Meghna River. The interesting thing is a journey in the Island; Varieties of wild life with green forests are an enchanting scene never to be forgotten.

Deer, Monkey, python, dolphin & lots of various types of Birds are the major attraction of the island. Department of Forest have been made this spot as green by planting trees about a decade ago so that cyclone and natural disaster cannot hamper the southern part of the country. And the department was tried to make this place as a tourist spot.

It is important that, a lot migratory birds came here on the winter season. The exclusive feature of island is that a person can see both sunrise and sunset from few points in this island.

How to Go: A person can go this amazing place very easily. Tipu 5 and Panama ship (locally called lonch) starts its journey from Sadarghat, Dhaka to Monpura everyday 5 pm and reached at Monpura next day 7 am. Rent for deck is 800 BDT and for cabin are 800 to 1500 BDT. Contact number of Tipu and Panama is +88-01740951720.

Another route to go Monpura Island is by starts journey with ship Tipu 4 or, farhan which departure from Sadarghat at 6:30 pm and arrive at Tomijuddin Ghat of Charfashion area of Bhola district at 4 am. After that tourist can arrive at Monpura by another ship or, engine boat. This route will give a tourist extra benefit which is visiting Tomijuddin area which is also attractive place.

How to Visit: The best solution for site visit is rent a motorcycle with its driver. He will also help you as professional guide. The motorcycle driver will charge 1000 to 1500 BDT for a day with refreshments and lunch.

Where will stay: Tourist can stay by setting up camp. Don’t worry, there’s no robber, thief and such kind of problems. On the other hand, there are some hotels but quality is very low.

How can back: Every morning at 10 am, ships are departure from Monpura.

Categories: Tourism

Finalization of National Tobacco Control Policy under Threat: PROGGA

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The cigarette manufacturers’ organization Bangladesh Cigarette Manufacturers Association (BCMA) has already started a strong lobbying campaign in the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to hinder the finalization process of National Tobacco Control Policy (NTCP) 2019. On 15 September 2019, the organization sent a letter to the Finance Minister, with copies sent to Finance Secretary, Health Services Secretary and Chairman of National Revenue Board (NBR). In the letter, the association presented a series of unsubstantiated and fictitious explanations and ‘reasoning’ against the proven and highly effective tobacco control measures that the draft NTCP contains including the abolishment of government partnership in tobacco companies, the banning of foreign direct investment in tobacco sector, banning of emerging tobacco products, increasing the size of Graphic Health Warning (GHW) on tobacco packaging, the introduction of plain packaging, increasing tobacco taxes and prices as well as introducing specific excise taxes.

The sole purpose of BCMA’s strategy here is to bring forth the issue of tobacco revenue in order to intimidate and manipulate the MoF and eventually impair the finalization of NTCP. Previously, the tobacco companies launched a concerted media campaign to disrupt the inter-ministerial meeting on NTCP.

BCMA in its letter mentioned Bangladesh as one of the countries with high tobacco taxes. The reality is quite the contrary as the price of cigarettes in Bangladesh is one of the cheapest in the world. Average price of cheapest cigarettes is more than twice in India than it is in Bangladesh. According to a 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) study, with the exception of Myanmar, Nepal and Indonesia, Bangladesh has the cheapest cigarette prices in the South and South-East Asian region.

As a result, it is evident that there is no alternative to increasing this ‘cheapest’ price by introducing specific taxes on tobacco products. In the letter, BCMA could not but mention its favourite fear-mongering story that if, by sheer chance, the authority manages to increase the tobacco taxes substantially, it would result in widespread tax evasion and huge influx of illicit cigarettes, eventually causing the govt a massive revenue loss. The fact, as always, contradicts with BCMA’s claim.

The report ‘A Global review of Country Experiences’, published in February 2019 by the World Bank, has found out that the increase in tobacco taxes has barely any relation with illicit trade of cigarettes and the percentage of illicit trade of tobacco in Bangladesh stands at merely 1.8 percent, the lowest in 27 countries. BCMA also claimed that the plain packaging strategy of tobacco control is ineffective in curbing the use of tobacco products. But in reality, till today, more than 16 countries in the world, including Australia, Canada, Belgium, Hungary, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Singapore, have introduced plain packaging in their tobacco control mechanism after realizing its impact.

Even our neighboring countries, Srilanka and Nepal are also working on implementing plain packaging soon. In Plain Packaging, tobacco companies cannot attach any promotional messages in the packets of tobacco products. It also boosts the effectiveness of GHW on tobacco packs. Currently, GHW messages covers the lower 50 percent of all tobacco packs in Bangladesh whereas it is 90 percent in Nepal, 85 percent in India and Thailand, 80 percent in Sri Lanka. BCMA also emphasized on retaining the govt. shares on tobacco companies, claiming that it is important for revenue earning and minimizing public health risk. Again the reality is that the govt.’s shares in multinational tobacco companies and the presence of govt.

Officials in the Directors’ Board give the companies an unprecedented opportunity to infiltrate the policymaking process and interfere in tobacco control strategies. BCMA also stood against the proposed policy of banning foreign direct investment in the tobacco industry claiming that such investment creates employment opportunities which is undoubtedly ridiculous laughable. The truth is that Bangladesh, a country where 49 percent of its population is youth, appears as a tantalizing market for expanding tobacco business. The country is currently going through ‘Demographic Dividend’ stage as the working age population is larger than its dependent population.

However, the high prevalence of tobacco use can lead this generation to premature death and loss of productivity and vitality. BCMA’s letter also presented electronic cigarettes, vaping, heated (IQOS) tobacco products as ‘safe alternatives’ to traditional cigarettes and advised against banning these products. Tobacco companies produce and market these products targeting the youth and children.

Due to innovative marketing and attractive designing of these products, it has already gained much popularity among school-going children and adolescents. The widespread prevalence of emerging tobacco products has already taken a deadly turn in Europe and the U.S. Bangladesh is yet to experience such widespread use of these items though the numbers are rising up. Thailand, Singapore and some 40 countries have already banned e-cig and vaping products. 

It should be mentioned that tobacco claims more than 126,000 lives each year in Bangladesh and incurs a financial loss of more than Taka 30,560 cr. due to the illness and deaths, it causes. Realizing the extent of loss caused by tobacco use, the Hon.

Prime Minister declared her vision of transforming Bangladesh into a tobacco-free country by 2040 and in 2016, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) started formulating National Tobacco Control Policy to reach the goal. As a party to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) of WHO, Bangladesh is officially committed to safeguarding its tobacco control policies and measures from the vested interests of the tobacco industry.

So the govt must stay clear of the influence and interference of tobacco companies and finalize and implement the National Tobacco Control Policy as soon as possible.

Source: Press release from PROGGA

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Gulshan Lake not in Government Spotlight

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There has not been sewage and household dissipates did not stream into the Gulshan lake in a single day. Gulshan Lake, located Gulshan-Baridhara area was officially marked an Ecologically Critical Area (ECA) to save the water body from becoming pollution. And also to protect it from infringement which was declared before 12 years.

According to the grapevine trying to convince people that it was central to safeguard it for the ecology of Dhaka city, two giant signboards of the Department of Environment (DoE) of the government have been posted on either end of the lake since November 26, 2001.

Although there have been a lot of environmental law and organization but the Gulshan-Baridhara Lake continues to get more polluted day by day for not taking any steps from law implement departments, claimed environmental lawyer Rizwana Hasan.

Whatever, officials of DoE claimed that Dhaka Wasa and Dhaka City Corporation are trying to stop pollution in the Lake.

It’s important that Rajdhani Unnyan Kartripakhha (RAJUK) undertook a plan to build a 40 feet road along the eastern shoreline of the lake.

Incidentally, to survive any kind of life in a water body, the minimum standard required level of break up oxygen is six milligrams per liter. The ECA rule was established in the year 1999 under the Bangladesh Environment Protection Act, 1995.

There are total of 12 ECAs have been identified in the Bangladesh. These areas are Tanguar Haor, Hakaluki Haor and Marjat Baor is also need to be protected. Shores of the lake are used as dumping ground for city waste

Eco Tour by bdenvironment.com

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As eco beloved students and environment activities, all their hearts were set to reach for the close to jungle, where the spheres are wide and locality are not the typical urban-centric. On 12th of September, 2015, with scorching ‘Summer Sun’ half-way-on, the team of ‘Eco Tour 2015’ and founder of bdenvironment.com Md. Ashraful Alam, editor of Tangail Barta Md. Fazlul Haque, Eastern University faculty Assistant Professor and Coordinator of EU EarthCare Club Mr. Abu Md. Abdullah, Assistant professor and coordinator of Social Welfare Club Mr. Syed Habib Anwar Pasha, Assistant Professor Mr. Moniruzzaman Khan and Assistant Professor Maksuda Hossain started off for the coveted eco tour 2015.

The aim was an eco-tourism place Do Khola at madhupur in Tangail forest range of Bangladesh forerst department. By the time the students reached the jungle, local and tribal people were about to start their tribal dance and traditional activities. With popular and gorgeous dresses, they appeared colorful and festive look. While dance, especially after dance when started the jungle trip, the students craned and tiptoed to have a clear view of what was happening in ecology and inside jungle activities by animals. Students were found busy noting the events, taking pictures, matching realities with theoretical teach.
The eco tour 2015 was further enriched by President of EarthCare Club and editor-in-chief of bdenvironment.com (Environmental Web Portal) Md. Ashraful Alam’s informative briefing on their jungle as well as animal behavior and overall eco tour 2015 activities. He played coordinator role in eco tour 2015. Participants of eco tour 2015 were highly encouraged by his speech, realizing that ‘the power of their (jungle and ecosystem) purse isn’t ignorable any more’. However, the most exciting part was probably taking part in ‘Passing the jungle route’. The students were divided into small groups of ten and followed the narrow aisles of the jungle. After the lunch break, the students visited the local historic place as well as met with local influential figures like journalist, local forest department director etc. The eco tour 2015 was organized environmental web portal bdenvironment.com, Tangail’s local newspaper tangailbarta24.com and social organization Alokito Madhupur.

However, the most exciting part was probably taking part in ‘Passing the jungle route’. The students were divided into small groups of ten and followed the narrow aisles of the jungle. After the lunch break, the students visited the local historic place as well as met with local influential figures like journalist, local forest department director etc. The eco tour 2015 was organized environmental web portal bdenvironment.com, Tangail’s local newspaper tangailbarta24.com and social organization Alokito Madhupur.

Karatoa River occupied by Land grabbers

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Preparing fake documents by land grabbers to occupy a part of the river and constructing establishments. Already a huge part of the Karatoa River at several spot had been occupied by land grabbers in Bogra and Gaibandha dristict in Rajshahi claimed by Bangladesh Water Development (WDB) Board and the Department of Environment.

Powerful people of those are have occupied large areas of land on both sides of the river in the two districts. Their aims of those people are build multi-storey buildings there. The environment department identified grasped river land where some people including Non Government Organizations (NGO) even included Thangamara Mohila Shabuj Shango and Diabetic Hospital in Bogra.

WDB Bogra district Sub-Assistant Engineer AKM Najmul Hassain said that already has been occupied for farming and other purposes by encroachers about 57 kilometres of the 86.75 kilometres channel from Khalisha to Khanpur.

The river lost Khalisha in Gaibandha to Khanpur channel in Bogra which is considering as main channel of the river before about 23 years ago, said WDB officials.

To run water flow of the river, WDB in Khalisha area constructed a three-vent control device in 1989. Farmers on both riverbanks started cultivation of Boro (One kind of crop) and other kinds of seasonal crops from Khalisha to Khanpur from the beginning of the winter period.

The environment department has been taken an initiative to restore flow of the river from Khalisha of Gobindaganj upazila in Gaibandha to Khanpur of Sherpur upazila in Bogra district. WDB sources said that the department prepares to make gabbers’ list to expel them and restore the river channel.

M Inamul Haque mentioned in his book ‘Water Resources Management in Bangladesh’ that from the Rennell’s Map of 1779 it come into sights that the Karatoa began from the foothills of the Himalayas in Darjeeling of West Bengal (India) and joined the Atrai river in the plains. According to the DoE Bogra officials, the river is dangerously polluted by chemical, household and industrial waste presently.

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The Teesta River desiccated

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Already majority part of The Teesta River has dried up due to extreme fall in water levels in summer season. It’s fall due to a barrage in India, upstream of the Teesta Irrigation Project at Dalia, Lalmonirhat. Experts think that the barrage is the main hinder natural flow of the river.

Officials of Bangladesh Water Development Board (WDB) said cute to creating several sandy shoals on the river had been fall which effect hampers on agriculture, environment, communication, and livelihoods. At least 5,000 people at shoal villages in Sundarganj upazila, Rangpur are sufferer and a long area is desiccated in Rangpur.

Chandipur Union Parishad of the Upazila Golam Mostafa Ahmed chairman said to Bd Environment over phone that at least thousand people become unemployed. And they will be employed for a season for a lack of fertility due to vast tracts of land along the riverbank remains unplanted.

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National Earth Olympiad Begins

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National Earth Olympiad (NEO) begins in the country. Now this is third season which covers 11 districts of the country with over 3000 expected participants.  Any student who is studying in 8 through 12 grades is eligible to participate in this countrywide competition. Through this accurate search for the most talented youngsters of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Youth Environmental Initiative (BYEI) will find the delegate team of Bangladesh for the 8th International Earth Science Olympiad (IESO) to be held in Magdalena Palace in Spain.

The Olympiad takes place in two rounds which are the divisional rounds and the National round. The toppers from the divisional rounds are put through a day long training session and then requested to the national round to be held in Dhaka. The champions of the national round are trained and sophisticated to constitute the Bangladesh delegate team for IESO’14.

A day long training camp with the top scorers of each division takes place in divisional rounds. The toppers are trained on climate change, sustainability and development, career in the environmental field, public speaking and effective communication, team building and leadership.

The top scorers from this round would be acknowledged with awards and certificates. However, they would be trained by the Department of Geology and Environment Science, University of Dhaka. Incidentally, the Olympiad organizes by Bangladesh Youth Environmental Initiative (BYEI) with the collaboration of Geology and Environment Science department of Dhaka University.

The National Earth Olympiad (NEO) intends to create consciousness about interconnected environmental issues among the younger generation and to nurture the talents of young students of high schools in the country for environmental leadership.

Categories: Events

People Face Water Crisis in this Summer in Khulna

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Shortage of drinking water is turning into a major problem in summer because of there are no deep tube wells in groundwater level in Khulna. People in Khulna city and five upazilas’ of the Khulna district face serious water crisis in this summer.

Officials of Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) claim that around at least 2.5 million people of Khulna city and Dighalia, Dumuria, Rupsha and Batiaghata upazilas’ became sufferer.

Officials of DPHE said to Bd Environment that groundwater level declined by 21 feet on an average in the five upazilas in economic year 2012-2013 while it declined by 26 feet in 2011. For this reason, people in numerous areas of these upazilas’ are need to depend on undrinkable pond water.
Contacted with some water experts, they said to BD Environment that “scanty rainfall, poor navigability and extreme use of underground water were the main reasons behind the fall.

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