Bangladesh aims to preserve nature that bounced back amid pandemic

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-07-27 02:42:58 BdST

A parliamentary panel has recommended keeping the national parks closed to tourists for certain periods every year after seeing nature bouncing back with the preservation of environment and wildlife during restrictions on travel and tourism amid the pandemic.

Dolphin, turtles and other animals rarely seen in Cox’s Bazar have returned to the beach after months of lull in tourism during the coronavirus outbreak.

In Dhaka, the foul odour from the Buriganga river has receded while Ganges dolphins have reappeared in the Turag.

Pointing to the changes, environmentalists are demanding restrictions on public movement even after the end of the pandemic in order to save environment.

Saber Hossain Chowdhury, the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on environment, forest and climate change ministry, told that the Department of Forest pointed out the “positive changes” in a meeting on Sunday.

The committee then asked the government to keep the 19 national parks of the country shit for three more months until October, he said.

The government earns Tk 100 million annually from the parks, but lost some of the revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saber said they would factor in the issue as well while making the final decision.

The committee said in the meeting that the government can halt eco-tourism for three months every year during the breeding seasons, according to the MP.

“We want a policy on the issue. The ministry has agreed,” he added.

A number of dolphins, foxes and other animals died unnaturally or were killed during the pandemic as well, he noted.

Keeping that in mind, the parliamentary committee also recommended inclusion of the killings of all wildlife as nonbailable and cognisable offence in the  forest preservation act which the government is currently drafting.

In the British era Forest Act of 1928, only the killings of tiger and elephant are nonbailable and cognisable offences.

“Revenue collection was the main goal when the Act was passed,” Saber said.