Fishing community the major polluter | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 22, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:56 AM, October 22, 2020

Fishing community the major polluter

Finds probe body about waste that washed ashore on Cox’s Bazar beach in July

Most of the trash that washed ashore on Cox's Bazar beach in July, causing uproar among environment activists and conservationists, came from the fishing community. A probe body formed the same month came up with the findings recently after analysing the waste, visiting the spots, and talking to fishermen, locals and experts.

The committee categorised the waste into two groups -- organic and non-organic. The latter formed 92 percent of waste that includes plastic drum, fishing net, plastic gallon, plastic basket, plastic pipes, TV casing, transparent plastic particles, liquor bottles, shoes, sandals and medical waste.

The committee found that the waste was mostly dumped by the seamen of Cox's Bazar. The garbage found on the shore are similar to those being carried by the fishers in their boats. Apart from this, some amount of domestic and medical waste ended up in the sea through four rivers -- Bakkhali, Matamuhuri, Reju and Naf.

The fishers often left the nets in the sea after any mammal got stuck in those and at times strong current washed away the nets. Fishing vessels along international maritime boundary were also found to dump a vast number of liquor bottles in the sea.

Straight into the sea from Bela Hatchery and Himchari point, there was a garbage vortex just 10km far from the said points, the investigation committee found.

The waste takes resort to seabed through Moheskhali channel and confluence of Bakhali river, the report said, adding that another source of the waste is Reju Khal which takes the waste of Ukhiya and Ramu to the sea.

Contacted, Ashraful Afsar, convener of the committee and also additional deputy commissioner of Cox's Bazar, told The Daily Star that they spent around 26 days to dig out exact cause of the incident.

"We have submitted it to our high-ups and hope the recommendations we made will be implemented for the greater interest of our environment and sea," he said.

The recommendations include setting up a treatment centre for injured mammals, conducting thorough research on waste vortex at sea, its profundity and source, and making inventory of fishing vessels.

Asked, Al Amin, professor of Forestry and Environmental Science at Chattogram University, said, "The fishing community must be brought under awareness campaign so that they refrain from dumping waste in the sea. We need to give this a serious thought," he added.

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