News is considered to be the first draft of history; it also happens to be a catalyst for action. At least in this case.
On March 31, The Daily Star ran a report on the return of sagarlata, also known as beach morning glory, on the beaches of Cox's Bazar -- owing to a fall in human movement in the area.
Tourists have entirely stopped going to the beach following a government-enforced shutdown in the country, from March 26, to control the spread of novel coronavirus.
Thanks to the halt in human activity, nature responded in kind. The beach morning glory started to return and this newspaper ran the report highlighting its ecological benefits, and how it is considered to be a key component of the ecosystem.
The report, which was heavily shared on social media, eventually prompted action from the authorities concerned.
Just three days after it was published, local authorities have kicked off a process to launch a pilot project to conserve sagarlata, a natural barrier against waves and a protector (from erosion) of the seashore.
Md Kamal Hossen, deputy commissioner of Cox's Bazar, visited the area at Dorianagar on Friday to determine further plans.
Authorities intend to conserve a one kilometre stretch of the beachside -- from Dorianagar to Inani Beach -- so that sagarlata and red crabs, which are often seen around the vines, can thrive without any human interruption, the DC said.
"We will form a conservation committee led by local conservationists and journalists to oversee the conservation guidelines. A placard and signboard will be put up highlighting the importance of the two species to raise awareness," he added. The DC also spoke of further plans to involve locals in conservation activities along the beach.
Ahmad Gias, a local journalist who also focuses on conservation and protection of local ecology, will be leading the proposed conservation committee.