A group of young tourists visiting Saint Martin's Island collected around 500 kg of waste from various parts of the island over two days, in a bid to raise awareness regarding the environment among fellow tourists.
The group, all of whom are students at Nanchang University of Aerospace and Astronautics in China, started collecting the trash from February 24 and continued their trash collection campaign till February 26.
Sajid Kabir Saji, one of the group members, told The Daily Star that the eleven friends were shocked to learn of the massive pollution in tourist spots around the country.
"We planned to visit the island in our winter vacation. As per our plan we reached Bangladesh and started our campaign," he said.
Saji said Saint Martin's Island is endowed with vast marine and land resources of global biodiversity significance. This island is a good example of co-concurrence of corals, algae, seaweeds, grasses and mangroves.
The island is also blessed with unique benthic community that has not been studied thoroughly yet, he continued saying this benthic community was not available in other parts of South Asia.
"Over extraction of corals and littering of waste are taking a toll on the whole biodiversity cycle, and we need to take the matter seriously," he said, adding that this island needs cleaning every week, if not at least every month.
Ashraful Islam, another group member, told The Daily Star that they wanted everyone to join their cause in saving the unique island.
"The change must come if people like us start taking care and give a little effort in this endeavour. Together we will be able to retain the beauty of this island," Islam said.
He said a huge amount of crude oil, plastic and non-biodegradable items were being discharged into the marine body.
"Among the trash we collected were chips packets, bottles of carbonated drinks, bottles of mineral water, cigarette butts and packets," he said.
The group of eleven are determined to continue their cleaning campaign in the future, he added.