Bangladesh will not be able to seize the opportunity of new land formation in the Bay of Bengal if it fails to protect those from growing climate change risks, experts said at a seminar yesterday.
They suggested that the government build embankments to protect the newly-formed islands, form a specialised commission to coordinate land reclamation process, keep inland rivers alive to maintain proper water flow, and involve private sector to finance the activities.
Bangabandhu Nou Parishad, a civil society platform, organised the seminar on climate change and land reclamation at Cirdap auditorium.
Speaking at the event, Mostafa Ali, professor of water resources engineering at Buet, said new land is rising gradually in the Bay of Bengal, bringing a big opportunity for Bangladesh.
However, at the same time, sea level is rising faster due to climate change, which has other adverse impacts, he added.
“If we can protect this new land from climate change impacts through building embankments, it will help us seize the opportunity of broadening our boundaries,” said Prof Mostafa.
Mir Tareque Ali, professor of naval architecture and marine engineering at Buet, said siltation is a blessing for Bangladesh in terms of agriculture and new land formation, but it is also responsible for filling up riverbeds which eventually cause the rivers to die.
Therefore, the government -- along with reclaiming new lands -- should protect inland rivers through dredging to save the country’s lifeline, he added.
Planning Minister MA Mannan said, “Playing with river, sea or nature is like playing with fire. Danger is imminent if we are not careful.”
He urged people involved with the new land reclamation process to carry out activities through coping with nature and follow science instead of going against it.