June 18, 2021

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The Sundarbans needs to be prepared for the next storm

The Sundarbans is not good with the sword head of Rampal thermal power plant, we all know that. However, the Sundarbans is also plagued with various problems.

Year after year, cyclones have weakened the Sundarbans. This time Cyclone Yas did not cause as much damage to plants as the previous storms, but there is no doubt that extensive damage has been done to livestock. Come after the word of the storm. A group of greedy evil people is continuously causing indiscriminate damage to livestock.

The less rivers and streams in the Sundarbans can be used for commercial vessels or cargo, the better for livestock. But day by day transport traders seem to be becoming reckless. There is a mysterious fire telesamati on it. In the last two decades, there have been 23 major fires in the Sundarbans, especially in the eastern Sundarbans. Has anyone wondered why the East Sundarbans is on fire again and again?

Tanker and shipwreck

In December 2014, a fuel tanker named ‘MV OT Southern Star Seven’ sank in the hunting ground of Shyala river in Sundarbans. Where the ship sank was a sanctuary for six species of dolphins, including the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin. The spill of oil into the water has put dolphins and other aquatic creatures in deep crisis.

Seeing the protests at home and abroad at that time, it seemed that something would happen. But did not; Instead, cargo and tank sinking incidents happen every year. Does all the news reach Dhaka? If the incident can be managed in the forest, Dhaka is close to Dhaka, but the suffering of the wild animals is not suppressed.

Exactly the year after the sinking of the oil tanker (October 26, 2015), the cargo ship MV Ziaraj sank in the Chila area of ​​Pashur river with 510 metric tons of coal. On March 19, 2016, the cargo ship MV Jabale Noor sank with 1,250 tons of coal in the Dhansagar area of ​​Shyala river. On January 13, 2016, a lighter ship MV Ichgati with one thousand tons of coal sank in a protected area of ​​the Sundarbans. In 2017, on the night of the holy Boishakh, the lighter ship MV Bilas sank in the Harbaria area of ​​Pashur river.

The last time the cargo ship MV BB sank was in the submarine area of ​​Pashur River on February 26. The 650 ton coal cargo ship could not be rescued then.

The key to the Sundarbans when a ship sinks in a river

One of our ministers raised such a question in 2014. Some tried to respond but were not taken into account.

Scientists agree that the coal in the sunken cargo will pollute the water, organisms and the environment of the Sundarbans, such as sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, etc. As a result, there will be problems in fish breeding in the river. Using contaminated water can cause various diseases to the local people.

After the tanker sinking in 2014, a 10-member research team led by Professor Abdullah Harun Chowdhury of Khulna University’s Department of Environmental Science Discipline began a study on the effects of fuel oil spills within 1,200 square kilometers of the Sundarbans. The research work started from the day of emission.

The theoretical model of the study was determined in accordance with the standards set by the American Public Health Association (APHA). This is an attempt to look at the comparative situation between the two areas where oil has not leaked and where oil has leaked at the same time. Studies have shown that oil spills have had a devastating effect on the biodiversity of the Sundarbans. The effect will be long term.

The researchers noticed that the pollen of the frog, also known as the bangachi, contains 34 small species of benthos found in the Sundarbans. But only 6 such species have been found there since the oil spill. The remaining 26 species have become extinct. When the preliminary results of the study were released, the researchers made it very clear that in order to save the Sundarbans, the naval route of the Shyala River must be canceled immediately. Besides, oil and coal vessels will not be allowed to pass through the river in the Sundarbans in any way.

Researchers also say that coal is more harmful than oil. If a coal ship sinks in a river in the Sundarbans, the forest will not be able to recover. Needless to say, no one has heard of this, but after 2015, seven large and small coal-carrying vessels have been buried in the Sundarbans.

Sundarbans weakened by the storm

Not in Kalevadra, now almost every year the Sundarbans has to deal with the storm happily. This is now the only gatekeeper Kalapahar. No matter how bullshit the gatekeeper looks, the owner has to keep an eye on his body health. Do we have to think about the health of the Sundarbans? Can we avoid the responsibility of preparing him for the next storm?

After the cyclones of 1986 and 1996, Sidr in 2008, Aila in 2009, Roanu in 2016, Bulbul in 2016, Fani in 2019 and Ampan in 2020, the Sundarbans has had to deal with the impact of Yas again this year. Is the risk of dealing with a storm less? The chests of the Sundarbans have become swollen to cope with the repeated storms.

On the eve of the arrival of Cyclone Yas, signal 3 was issued on the entire coast. The officials had an idea that nothing like that would happen. The forest workers could not believe the idea when they saw the condition of the water. The patrol outpost personnel were evacuated to a safe place before the storm at the request of Katar and fearing for their lives. But the howls of wild animals did not reach our hearts. We know that May is the month of delivery of many wild animals. Several species of animals, including deer, wild boar, and guisap, give birth this month.

Before the storm, a team from the forest department toured the Sundarbans to get an idea of ​​how many new guests were coming. The team was happy to see the situation. We will never know how many pigs and deer have been swept away in the floodwaters. Foresters have openly said that many animals could be swept away by the tide. So the exact calculation cannot be said. Bess, Lata chuckled.

Due to the effect of Yas, almost the entire part of the Sundarbans was submerged in swimming water for two consecutive days. Erosion occurred in the Raimangal and Arpangashia rivers in an area of ​​60 km. Of the 54 ponds, the main source of potable water in the Sundarbans, 53 are submerged in salt water. As a result, the drinking water crisis of wild animals and forest workers is getting deeper day by day.

According to forest department sources, 19 jetties, six watercraft (trawlers), two roundhouses, a foot rail, a watch tower, four staff barracks and a resthouse were damaged in the floods. The tin sheds of at least 10 offices have been blown away by the ordinary wind of Yas. Two crocodile sheds at Karamjal Wildlife Sanctuary have been destroyed. But hopefully, all the crocodiles are there. None floated.

What could be the way

The Forest Department has set up four committees with four rangers in the Sundarbans to assess the damage in their traditional way. The same thing was done after Ampan. Did that report see the light of day? Another committee was working on the fire, their report – or where?

There should be a measure of negligence of responsibility as well as assessment of damages. When our weather office says there was no wind, how did the tin tent fly? The patrol outpost was closed for fear of loss of life, but why the jetty and watercraft were not taken care of who will ask the Rangers?

With all the reports, a security plan needs to be drawn up by scientists and representatives of the Sundarbans. Not conceptual, but evidence-based decision-making is fast approaching. To the tune of environmentalists, we can no longer say that it is not right to remove broken plants. It (Sundarbans) will return to normal due to its own natural ability.

There are many plants in the Sundarbans that need human help to grow. Golpata bushes cannot grow unless they are pruned every year (the stalks are cut and cleaned). Just as palm and coconut trees have to be cleaned every year, so do the golpata of the same family. That work is not possible without people. The emotional decision after Sidr has seen the untimely death of many golpata bushes. On the other hand, when the mouyals or mawalis climb trees to collect honey and wax, they clean the vines and parasites that grow on the trees. This benefits the tree. Otherwise, the trees are suffocated.

Ahead of the new moon. The salt water will flow into the forest again. Fresh water has to be arranged before that. The ponds should be irrigated. Then filling them with rain water will solve it a bit.

Ampan or its previous storms and tidal waves made it clear to us that just as storms are not a danger to humans, they are not a threat to the Sundarbans. High tides and tidal waves endanger people and the Sundarbans. Therefore, in the face of such tides, it is necessary to build a high mound in the Sundarbans for the shelter of animals, which has been made for people under the name of Mujib Killa.

In the Sundarbans, a pond has to be dug with a high bank to provide fresh water for the wild animals. The high ground on the bank of the pond should be arranged so that wild animals can live there.

Scientists say that the Sundarbans region is going to make three millimeters a year centering on the Koira region of Bangladesh. This issue must be taken into account in any plan. Earlier, the silt of the river Ganges used to come and fill it. Now it is not. So the dams here have to be high and wide enough. First of all we have to look at the density of good governance and accountability.

Author: Researcher [email protected]