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Wildlife Threatened In Sunderbans

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Frequent flooding of the Sunderbans due to sea level rise is gradually squeezing the wildlife habitats in the world’s largest mangrove forest. According to him another impact of sea level rise is the increased salinity in the forest area which brought about definite adverse changes in the vegetative pattern of the mangrove forest. It is well known that the Sunderbans mangrove forest is the source of livelihood for 1.2 million people. The six thousand kilometers forest is a World Heritage site, recognized by the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
A number of projects are underway aimed at improving the understanding of the ecology of the Sundarbans and improve it as well. The Conservator of Forest Dr. Tapan Kumar Dey, whose PHD dissertion was on spotted deer or “Chitra Horin” explained the types of problems that are causing havoc to the flora and fauna of the Sundarbans, the biggest mangrove forest in the world.
Due to the loss of forest coverage, the deer population was compelled to migrate gradually to the south where they survived, as per zoo geographical distribution data. But their last habitat in the south the Sundarbans is now under threat too because of a number of factors including the ‘climate change’. The global warning has already made Bangladesh ‘the most vulnerable country’ to climate change in the world. The herbs Caora leaves, which are the staple food for the spotted deer, are scarce in the forest due to the adverse impact of salinity, Dr Dey observed.
The Royal Bengal Tiger, one of the most fascinating cats in the world and Bangladesh’s national mascot are also under threat because of waning population of deer amid adverse climate change as the tigers mostly thrive on hunting deer. Dr. Dey, also in-charge of the wildlife circle, said lack of food and the flooding has forced many of the Tigers to stray away from the forest, creating frequent man-animal confrontation in human settlements along the forest.
We cannot totally check sea level rise. We can tame the sea for a while but that will not be a permanent affair. Experts and technocrats including zoologists must consider safe places so that deer and other animals in the Sunderbans can take refuge. As such short, medium and long term strategy has become imperative to save these rare species from extinction. Special initiatives and endeavors must be given priority consideration and allocation made for the purpose so that these animals could be accommodated on the plains with all facilities to ward off sea level rise. Only then we can succeed to a great extent to protect these animals from unnatural death-The earlier, the better.
Ban Use of Hydraulic Horns
The sound pollution due to rampant use of hydraulic horns is now a days creating public nuisance posing a serious health hazard to the dwellers of the metropolitan cities, particularly the capital where every day a large number of vehicles are added to the fleet. Most of the pollution comes from the use of hydraulic horns, used by various vehicles, particularly buses and trucks. There are rules to reduce the level of sound pollution but in reality these rules have never been implemented against the offenders, experts said.
To cut the growing level of noise pollution created by motor vehicles, industries and amplifiers, the government formulated the Noise Pollution Control Rules under the Environment Conservation Act of 1995.
Unfortunately, people especially the dwellers of Dhaka city, are suffering from noise pollution beyond permitted level. But the Department of Environment (DOE) has not yet taken any legal action against any offenders, making a mockery of those rules. However, the DOE sources said that they have neither adequate manpower nor logistic support to do it. Despite ban on the use of hydraulic horns in different cities, including Dhaka, many years ago, even then such horns are still being used in many vehicles with impunity. According to the Communications Minister a decision has been taken to ban the import of such hydraulic horns.
Cardiologists said noise pollution and over crowding enhance the chance of hypertension, heart attack and stroke. Normally, noise pollution aggravates most of the ailments related with blood pressure and affects people’s behavioral pattern. The mobile court can penalize the honkers for using horns beyond permissible sound limit and ban hydraulic horns with a fine of just Taka 100 under the Motor Vehicles Ordinance. Harsh and stringent penal measures are necessary with heavy fine and imprisonment so that this lingering menace can be permanently checked for the sake of public health and safety.    

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