11:00 PM, November 24, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, November 24, 2009

4 rivers around city declared ecologically critical area

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Bss, Dhaka

The government has declared four rivers surrounding Dhaka city as Ecologically Critical Area (ECA) as part of the plan to protect the rivers from encroachment as well as conservation of the biodiversity of the ancient water courses.
In September 2009, the four rivers -- Buriganga, Sitalakhaya, Turag and Balu -- have been declared by the Department of Environment as ECAs, said State Minister for Environment and Forests Dr Hasan Mahmud here yesterday.
Addressing the inaugural session of a national consultation workshop on "2010 Biodiversity Target National Assessment" at LGED auditorium, Dr Hasan urged all to make their efforts to protect the country's vast wealth of genetic resources for the sake of everyone live today and for our children and grandchildren and generation to be born.
He said, Bangladesh is a biodiversity rich country and its economy, culture and lifestyle is greatly dependent on various biodiversity resources. So, the government has always been attaching importance on the involvement of mass-people in the development of environment and biodiversity.
Chief Conservator of Forests Abdul Motaleb, Deputy Country Director of UNDP Robert Juhkam and project director of the biodiversity assessment programme Soliaman Haider spoke, among others, on the occasion while Director General of Department of Environment (DoE) Jafar Ahmed Khan was in the chair.
Referring to a IUCN Red List, he said, the list revealed that 38 percent of all the species examined are currently under threat of extinction and if the loss rate continues, an are of 1.3 billion hectors will completely lose its original levels of biodiversity by 2050.
"Bangladesh is not an exception to the global extinction of biodiversity," he said adding over fishing, deforestation, forest fragmentation and degradation, pollution and above all climate change are main drivers of biodiversity loss.
Some alien species are also invading our ecosystem, out-competing native species of food and other recourses and often perturbing ecosystem balance and functioning", he said adding their spread has been greatly facilitated by greater levels of trade, transportation, travel, tourism that are part of globalisation.
The minister said, the present government is committed towards conserving the country's environment to adapt to projected as well s presently experienced impacts of climate change both at national and global levels.
The current rate of species extinction as a result of human activity has been estimated to be up to 1,000 times higher than the natural rate, he said.
Director General of the DoE Jafar Ahmed Khan said, the 2010 nation biodiversity target assessment has been undertaken aimed at presenting the current national state of biodiversity, to identify the associated threats and show the gaps and hurdles those still remained in different areas/sectors.

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