The reserve forest in Kuakata sea beach is disappearing day by day due to continuous erosion by the Bay. Sand is getting removed from the tree roots due to frequent tidal surges.
The rise in water levels is abnormal due to climate change impacts. As a result, huge waves of the sea are flooding the coast. Every year, erosion due to frequent hit by tidal surges causes depletion of the reserve forest in Kuakata sea beach, badly affecting the natural beauty of the picturesque tourist spot. Thousands of trees are disappearing. The recent cyclone Amphan and high tides have uprooted a number of trees in the forest.
Kuakata is a spectacular beach where one can have a sight of both the rising and setting sun. At one time, coconut garden, palm garden and the tamarisk garden of the National Park on Kuakata beach attracted more tourists. But coconut orchards and palm orchards are now facing extinction. The mangrove forest is now disappearing.
Sources at Patuakhali forest department said in 2005, the government declared 5,661 hectares of forest land in Kuakata as National Park. To make Kuakata more attractive to tourists, the forest department created a tamarisk garden covering about 10,000 hectares of land adjacent to the beach in the financial year 2007-2008.
Mahipur Range Officer of the forest department Abul Kalam Azad said new gardens were created in the forest adjacent to Kuakata beach from 2010 to 2012. Last year, tamarisk garden was created on 40 hectares of land in Gangamati area. The Kuakata beach has been planted with acacia trees on 25 hectares of land and the forest department plants tamarisk orchards on 20 hectares of land. In addition, 10 hectares of land have been planted in Khajura area and 85 hectares in Gangamati area this year. Moreover, 20 hectares of low-lying land have been raised.
He added that at least 50 hectares of forest land are being destroyed every year due to erosion and tidal surges. Thus, in the last five years, 250 hectares of forest land have been lost to the sea as tidal surges frequently hit the beach. Thousands of trees have also been uprooted due to cyclone Ampan and high tides for five days since August 19 this year.
Meanwhile, the width of the longest beach was 18 km that has now shrunk due to continuous erosion. At high tide, tourists are unable to walk on the beach. If the beach is not protected from erosion, the whole forest will disappear one day.
During a recent visit, this correspondent saw that high tides uprooted a number of large trees.
Ruman Imtiaz Tushar, managing director of Kuakata Tourist Centre, said coconut orchards and tamarisk orchard are now on the verge of extinction.
Kuakata municipality Mayor Barek Mollah said sustainable measures must be taken to prevent erosion. Otherwise, Kuakata beach will lose its attraction to tourists.
Patuakhali Divisional Forest Officer Aminul Islam said new gardens are being created in Gangamati and Kawar Char areas. Apart from this, 20,000 palm trees have been planted to prevent tidal surges.
Contacted, Khan Mohammad Waliuzzaman, executive engineer of Water Development Board (WDB) in Patuakhali, said he has informed the ministry concerned about the matter.