Rivers in Bangladesh ‘Comatose’

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The locality and government are neglected to be responsible for the relentless degradation. As source of livelihood, communication, and heart of people in Dhaka had been determined to the Buriganga River but now it’s a major source of running the capital. This happens due to pollution and building illegal property by robbering.

Along with Buriganga, Turag, Shitalakkhya, Balu and Bangshi  is being a death trap for increasing pollution and also indiscriminate sand lifting. The minimal level of dissolved oxygen (DO) required for life to survive in these rivers do not have.

Researchers of The Department of Environment (DoE) had been an alarming message on levels of DO in these rivers after three months research. They have analysis on various samples of chemical whose were collected from these rivers  and the levels of DO in Buriganga, Turag and Bangshi were 0.38, 0.59 and 0.0 milligram per liter gradually.

According to the Environment Protection Act (Amendment) 2010, the minimum required level DO is 5 mg/l for any water body to sustain aquatic species including fishes and others is. The minimal standard rate for water being eligible for treatment as drinking water is 6 mg/l.

Contacted with Environment Erpert Dr Ahsan Uddin Ahmed over phone, he said to Bd Environment that “such a DO merge amount in water poses severe a great threats to biodiversity and hydro-ecology”. “Random dumping of waste has put the rivers in and around the city in a blackout”.

Professor Mujibur Rahman of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) said that government ought to shift the tannery diligence from the Hazaribagh, Dhaka. The chemical waste from the tanneries is a major polluter of these rivers. It’s important that The DoE research had been found that the level of DO at the Hazaribagh area of Buriganga River was 1.06, 0.50 and 1.0 mg/l in January, February and March gradually. And the Bio-Chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) is also very high in these waters.

DU established “Center for Climate Change Study and Resource Utilization”

In view of carrying out a methodical and corresponding research on Climate Change Change matters, a new study institute titled “Center for Climate Change Study & Resource Utilization (CCCSRU)” has established at by the department of Applied Chemistry and Chemical Engineering of Dhaka University.

The center will be a self-determining, and non-profit research and training institute dedicated mainly to the energy, environment and climate change issues. To initiate, promote, sponsor and organize scientific study effort on the various dimensions of problems and issues pertaining to Fossil Fuels, Petroleum, Natural Gas and Coal – their rational utilization and clean and energy efficient processing technology, CO2 discharge reduction, Climate change and its mitigation, nano and membrane knowledge, Waste management, water and air pollution and its technology for treatment, Energy policy are the main objectives of the Center.

Incidentally, there are fifteen members in governing body with the Vice-Chancellor of the University as Chairman, Deans of numerous faculties, Chairmen and Professors of concerning Departments as members and Director of the Center as member-secretary will govern the Center. Department of Applied Chemistry & Chemical Engineering of the University professor Dr. Rafiqul Islam is the founder director of the center.

Wild Animal Extinct

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Most of the species of wild animals have now become almost extinct from five districts of greater Mymensingh region. Absence of the implementation of laws for safe-guarding the animals, indiscrimination killing of animals, careless use of pesticides, felling of trees, burning down and clearing of  bushes and hedges and drying up of aquatic habitat are the main reasons behind the depletion of the wild animals.

There are hilly forests best known as ‘Garo Forests’ mainly in Mymensingh, Jamalpur, Sherpur and Netrokona district.

There were also numerous small jungles and vast wetland in Mymensingh region. Each of the said geographical factors has contributed to the sustenance of different kinds of wild life both big and small in the region.

Many kind of animals including leopard, wild buffalo, cow, hog, cock, peacock, spotted deer, jackals, goat and wild cat; mongoose,  red mouth monkey, black mouth baboon, porcupine, squirrel, hare, pangolin and bobcat etc were seen in Mymensingh and Madhupur Forests in the past. Even only three to four decades ago, many of the wild animals were available in the forests and jungles, said Divisional Forest official sources.

Besides, a large number of birds including hawk, kite, vulture, mynah, nightingale, swallow, owl, pigeon, dove, skylark, sparrow, woodpecker, parakeet, different varieties of martin, dove and king fisher were available in the forests.

There were also different varsities of reptiles and snakes including python and poisonous cobra, different varieties of frogs, numerous varieties of environment friendly worms including earthworm, ant and white ant, different kinds of butterfly in forests of Mymensingh region.

Forest in greater  Mymensingh region are shrinking fast due to indiscriminate cutting of trees, encroachment of forestlands, use of forest land for rubber gardening and raising fruit orchards, officials said

The number of these wild animals has greatly reduced in the forests following food crisis due to unusual decrease of trees and plants in Madhupur and Bhaluka Sal Forests.

Contacted, Md. Moyeen Uddin Khan, Deputy Conservator of Forest in Mymensingh said that there are about 71,000 acres of government reserved forest in greater Mymensingh. Out of the total land, 29,000 acres of forest land have been grabbed forcibly and the occupied land is being used for banana and pineapple cultivation, said the official.

For preservation of wild animals, the government has taken initiatives including to make fruit orchards, plantation of medicinal plants needed for wild animals. The local people should be made aware about the importance of wild animals needed for a balanced environment, the official added.

Categories: Category, Mymensingh, News, Wildlife

Sundarban

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Sundarban, proudly call by Bangladeshi people as home of tigers. It’s situated at South-Western delta of country. Sundarban has a huge collection of wild beings, gipsy fishermen; honey-collectors, risky and a mesmerising mingle of rivers and the Bay of Bengal. This forest is largest mangrove forest in the world. The meaning of Sundarban in literally refers to “beautiful forestwhich comes from one kind of trees in the forest named ‘Sundari’ that are found in the Sundarbans in huge numbers.

This forest is the largest littoral mangrove belt in the world which widen 80 km into the Bangladeshi hinterland from the coastal area. The forests aren’t just mangrove swamps though; they include some of the last remaining stands of the mighty jungles which once covered the Gangetic plain.

Sundarban covers 6,000 square kilometers of Bangladeshi land bounded within three districts named Bagerhat, Khulna and Sathkira in the North part of Bay of Bengal and in the South; Baleswar (or Haringhata) river, Perojpur, Barisal district in the East, and Raimangal and Hariabhanga in the West, sharing boundaries with the West Bengal (India). Sundarban lies in the vast delta on the Bay of Bengal formed by the super union of the Padma, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers. UNESCO declared it world heritage site in the year 1997.

Famous Spots: To seeing tiger, deer, monkey, crocodiles, birds and the natural beauty of the forest, Hiron Point and Katka point are the best spots. Tin Kona Island and Dublar Chor is also a good place for seeing tiger and deer in Sundarban.

How to go: Although water transports is the best for these area but tourist can go there by bus or, air. Tourist can starts their journey from capital’s Gabtoli bus terminal. Bus departures from Dhaka every 15 minutes after and will reached at Khulna. Another route is air which fly from Dhaka to Jessore. Tourists can go from Jessore to Khulna by bus. If tourists can go to there by water way, he/she need to go capital’s Sadarghat to starts journey with ship. Both day and night-long coach services by road are available in every route.

To visit Sundarban, permission must be taken through written application from the divisional Forest Office and pay required entrance fees for visitors. Tourist also pay for vessel or boat at the appropriate forest station or range office. Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation (Government tour Service) and other tour operating agencies has guided package tour package from Dhaka to Sundarbans.

Reference: http://archive.thedailystar.net/magazine/2011/03/02/travel.htm

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Environment Friendly Light-trap Technology to Help Farmers

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Light-trap, an environment-friendly method to detect harmful insects is helping hundreds of farmers in different areas of the district during this ongoing aman season. The farmers are getting benefits from this technology and they are very enthusiastic to use it, said Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) officials here.

The  DAE sources said, they have taken the  programme throughout the district with a view to detecting the harmful insects in the aman fields and  to use the insecticides accordingly to save the crops. The very low-cost  technology is also helpful for the ecological balance, said the officials.

In many cases, the farmers use insecticides indiscriminately without knowing about the proper insecticides to kill the harmful insects and  the farmers have to cost more money, said the officials adding “indiscriminate use of pesticides also kill the useful insects, endangering the environment”.

Around 2625 light-traps have already been set up at 525 blocks in 12 upazilas of the district.

Narayan Chandra Basak, Deputy Director of DAE told this correspondent that light- trap programme has been implementing in the district for last few years to help the farmers to manage pest effectively with low-cost. This year we gave more emphasis on the programme, he said.

During September and October, the farmers face serious pest attack every year and they have to cost more money using pesticides indiscriminately for pest control, said the deputy director. He also said, the farmers go for indiscriminate use of pesticides as  they do not know what pesticides actually they need.

Over 2,58,955 hectares of land  were brought  under aman cultivation in the district this year. This technology has reduced use of indiscriminate pesticides to nearly 50 percent as farmers’ response to this technology, said the deputy director.

The farmers are also learning about the harmful and useful insects through this  technology and such identification is much needed for maintaining ecological balance, added the official.

I visited the method at the field level and it has got very positive response from the farmers’ side, said the official.

The technology is easy to handle, so the farmers can carry it from one field to another round the season according to their need, sources said.

The DAE sources said, they set up the light-traps at night using traditional lights, charger light or electric bulbs and  a pot with detergent or kerosene mixed clear water  and the pot is  put under the lights to draw the insects. The insects fall into the water  kept in the pot and thus the existence of harmful and beneficial insects in the field is identified, said sources.

Sources also informed that if existence  of harmful insects is found, agricultural experts render necessary advices to the farmers.

Contacted, Mahbubul Alam, Muktagacha Upazila Agriculture officer said, no harmful insects have  been detected in the upazila so far. He observed that light- trap technology is saving the aman filed from harmful insects and helping the farmers to learn about an environment friendly technology as well.

He also said , this programme  has been implementing  in  45 blocks in 10 unions of the upazila. This technology would take positive impact in the field of agriculture benefiting farmers, hoped the official.

Hazrat Ali, a farmer of village Kandinau of Kumargata union in Muktagacha said, he was acquainted with the technology for the first time this year and he attained  knowledge for operating the technology to detect harmful insects.

This technology  will encourage the farmers and it will boost aman production, hoped Hazrat Ali. The light-trap  method has inspired hundreds of farmers of the district in last couple of years and many farmers have been successfully using the nature friendly technology to detect the harmful and beneficial insects, needed to reap a good harvest, said Mohammad Abdul Hannan, Sadar Upazila Agriculture Officer.

Environment friendly Vermi-Compost

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Vermi-compost (an environment friendly compost produced using earth worm) has created a positive trend among hundreds of farmers in Phulbaira upazila of Mymensingh. The compost is very helpful for the farmers and the environment as well, sources said. The farmers need less money to make the compost and it is much cheaper than chemical fertilizers, farmers said.

Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh (CCDB) under its project Comprehensive Poverty Reduction Programme (CPRP) is running the vermi compost programme at Koyer Chala, Bakta, Enayetpur, Rangamatia, Kanchichura and Nischintapur villages in Phulbaria to make the rural poor women self-reliant through producing vermi-compost

The vermi compost can be produced easily at home stead using a  cement slab ring or a big earthen bowl (chari) to keep the earth worms. Once bin is ready, bedding materials like sand, small pieces of brick is put in it. The worms put in the bin are covered with a layer of bedding, gunny bags or other structure to protect the worms against sun, downpours and birds. Twenty kgs of cow dung along with 20 kgs bio-waste like straw, hyacinth and vegetables waste are kept in the bin as feedstock for half-kg worms.

The amount of bio-compost what the earthworms eat up, they release its half amount as ‘tea dust like’ stool which is called vermi compost. Later the vermi-compost is separated through chaloni (sieving/straitening).

At initial stage a grower will get 20 to 25 kgs vermi compost after 45 to 60 days. But the harvest period is reduced when the worms’ number increases at the bins, said CCDP sources.

The surplus worms can be sold at TK. 1500 per kg. One kg vermi compost is sold at TK. 8 while price of chemical fertilizer is much higher, said sources. Now some 200 women are involved in vermi compost production in Phulbaria.

In comparison with the chemical fertilizers, vermi compost is better as it has nutritive value for containing the soil fertility. It also helps the soil to grow plants even in the dry season, said  CCDB sources. The vermi compost improves soil organic matter, maximizes retention of nutrients in the soil and maintains balanced soil level, sources added.

Like many vermi-compost producers, Jahan Ara of village Koyer Chala is producing vermi compost at her home stead. She started vermi compost production one year ago and now she produces around eight  per month and sells it at TK. 8 per kg.

Fatema, another woman of the same village now earns around TK. 3000 per month. Fazila of Bakta, Aysha of  Nischintapur while Hasina and Jamila of Kanchichura village started producing vermi compost, seeing Fatema’s success.

Talking to this correspondent, some farmers of Koyer Chala said, they use vermi compost in their bitter-guard and brinjal fields and received a good result then using  of chemical fertilizers.

Anwar Hossain said, they needed a little amount of TSP fertilizers after using vermi-compost this year and the production cost came down.

The farmers also observed less pest attack in their fields after using of vermi-compost, farmers informed.

Debasish Kumar Dey, area manager of CCDB said, vermi compost will not only help to improve the soil condition, it will also reduce the use of chemical fertilizer in great deal. He also said, DAE should include vermi compost in farmer training curricula to train the farmers on vermi compost so that they can produce and use it in their fields.

The environment friendly vermi compost can also be an income generating programme for the poor rural women, added the official.

Narayan Chandra Basak, deputy director of Department of Agriculture Extension here said, this compost fertilizer is an ideal nutrient source for plants as it is rich with  nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium than other traditional composts and it is beneficial for natural environment.

Vermi compost, also an excellent fertilizer for maintaining ecological balance can make the soil’s structure well for good production decreasing the indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers, said the deputy director. The vermi compost can help to produce chemical free crops, he said adding “when the plants are strong, normally they face less pest attack”. Dr. Md. Rafiqul Islam, a professor of Soil Science Department of Faculty of Agriculture at Bangladesh Agricultural University said, vermi compost contains organic matters and increases water holding capacity, improves soil structure easing the water movement and aeration into the soil.

Garbage Menace in Mymensingh

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As many streets littered with garbage, leftovers of household foodstuffs, Mymensingh Municipality has now turned a nasty town, creating a nuisance for the environment and the town dwellers as well.

Unbearable atmosphere is observed in many areas of the town including at Naha Road, Horikishore Roy Road, Kalibari Road, Charpara, Krishtapur and Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin Road of Shaheeb Quarter area.

More than 50 tones of garbage and filth are generated every day in the district town which covered a total area of about 22 square kilometers.The municipality belongs to class one status but its the civic amenities are far below the expectation of its dwellers.

Most of the streets, lanes and by- lanes often remain unclean for days together for lack of maintenance and clear.The number of dustbins in the town is not up to the demand, sources said.

There are some 306 dustbins put up across the town and these are seen always remain overflowed with garbage as these are not removed regularly.

The stench from these dustbins is simply nauseating pedestrians, creating the adjacent environment unfit for living, sources said. Only five trucks are stated to be in operation to remove the garbage and filths from the town. The trucks are too inadequate compared to the requirement, locals alleged.

The local people accused the municipal staff of negligence of duties in clearing the garbage and filths regularly. Repeated appeals of the residents to the municipal authorities to remove the piled up filths and garbage often goes unheeded, said Ashim Roy, a resident of Horikishore Roy Road.

Contacted, mayor of Mymensingh municipality Ekramul Haque Titu told this correspondent that the authorities are trying their best to mitigate the problems created by ‘garbage menace’ in the municipality. Pragmatic steps will be taken soon to render  a garbage free environment in the town.

Indiscriminate Sand Lifting in Mymensingh

A number of important installations including the Mymensingh Town Protection Embankment, Bangladesh-China Friendship Bridge and Muktijuddha Memorial are threatened due to indiscriminate lifting of sand and earth from Brahmaputra riverbed in the district.

According to sources, the government’s Mineral Resources Bureau in Dhaka authorized some traders to lift the sand and earth from nine point of the river in Mymensingh sadar upzila. These are Begunbari, Goonti, Khagdahar, Jailkhana Ghat, Kachari Ferry Ghat, Kalibari Farris Ghat, Bridge Ghat, Boira Ghat, and Bhabokhali Ghat.

But the lessees belonging to different political parties including the ruling Awami League are lifting sand and earth indiscriminately, violating the terms and conditions of lease agreements, sources said. Such lifting of soil and sand continue throughout the dry season every year and such indiscriminate act is harmful for environment, said sources.

After taking lease, sand traders choose the spots on their own to minimize cost and do not care to abide by terms and conditions, said Azizul Islam, a sand trader at Kachari Ferry Ghat.

Lease holders are using the dyke the day and night to carry sand and earth to different upzlias of the district which is threatening the environment and creating massive erosion in the rainy season, said Abul Hasnat Shyamol, another sand trader.

After the visit at Kachari Ferry Ghat this correspondent found that sand was being lifted indiscriminately from the riverbed between Mymensingh Collectorate Building and the Circuit house, very close to the town protection embankment. The earth cutting continues from morning till evening everyday.

Three dredgers are being used at the said place though Water Development Board had no permission in this regard, sources said.

After lifting sand from the riverbed, a group of people carry it to different areas of the district by trucks, power tillers or tractors over the dyke. The town protection embankment has developed rift at different points due to massive sand lifting.

The town protection embankment is under threat due to such indiscriminate activities of the sand lifters, said engineer Nurul Amin Kalam, secretary of Mymensingh Nagorik Andolon.

The authorities concerned are yet to take any steps to stop such act, added the leader.

On contact, Chief Engineer of local Water and Development Board [WDB] Khoshi Mohan Sarker said, if sand collection continues like present rate, installations located between the Railway Bridge and Bangladesh China Friendship Bridge would-be affected. This could change the course of mighty Brahmaputra River in near future, the engineer apprehended. He also said that planned sand lifting as per terms and condition and suggestions of WDB could be beneficial for the river and its environment. We will investigate into the incident, added the official.