Turtles tangled in fishing nets dying on Cox’s Bazar beach | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 22, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:55 AM, September 22, 2020

Turtles tangled in fishing nets dying on Cox’s Bazar beach

Says fact-finding committee

Around 40 turtles were found dead on Cox's Bazar sea beach in mid-July, due to injuries after being entangled in fishing nets, said a fact-finding committee.

It said when the turtles get entangled, fishermen usually hit them with sharp objects which was one of the main causes behind such death.

However, about 132 turtles were rescued and released back into the ocean, said the committee formed in July, when the longest sea beach was suddenly covered with tonnes of wastes.

It has submitted a report with 10 recommendations to Cox's Bazar Deputy Commissioner recently, saying floating glass bottles, plastic materials, torn nets and other wastes created a bewildering nature that poses a serious threat to the beauty and biodiversity of the beach.

The committee said sometimes fishermen cut the nets leaving the entangled turtles inside and threw them into sea, after that the turtles might have been wandering in the waste area.

"The turtles died due to intestinal infection, loss of appetite and starvation for a long time," according to the autopsy report, said the committee.

Of the waste, 91 to 92 percent was inorganic including plastic, electronic waste and nylon nets, said the committee, emphasising awareness among tourists, fishermen, locals and public representatives to control the pollution.

The fact-finding committee was convened by Mohammad Ashraful Afsar, additional deputy commissioner (revenue) of Cox's Bazar.

"We submitted the report last month, we tried to recommend only how we can prevent the pollution, nothing else," ADC (revenue) told The Daily Star this month.

"A detailed study is needed under the Bangladesh Oceanographic Research Institute to identify the location, size and depth of waste reservoirs in the coastal areas and figure-out the total impact of wastage in Bay of Bengal. We need a waste management plan under Cox's Bazar DC to identify and source of waste like canals or rivers falling into the sea," said the committee.

The committee recommended forming a joint committee on "Marine Waste Management" with the neighbouring countries so that the respective countries can properly manage their coastal waste and control the sea pollution.

They also recommended establishing a Marine Life Hospital and a modern laboratory to give treatment to the turtles and dolphins which come up on shore.

When asked, DC of Cox's Bazar, Kamal Hossain said, "We got the report. Initiatives will be taken to implement the recommendations mentioned in the report."

Meanwhile, Environment People -- an environmental voluntary organisation -- demanded a speedy implementation of the inquiry committee's recommendations.

Chief executive of the organisation, Rashedul Majid, said in a statement recently that organic and non-organic wastes were falling directly into the sea through several canals and rivers due to inadequate waste management. Besides, various marine animals including dolphins, sharks and turtles are dying due to the lack of awareness of fishermen.

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