Save the Sundarbans
Recently, an alarming news was published in the media that a coal-loaded cargo vessel has been sunk in the Pashur river very near the Sundarbans area. This is the fourth time a water vessel has gone down in the area, which regularly cause serious environmental loss to the mangrove forest. The Sundarbans are the largest natural barrier protecting the people of the southern part of our country from many natural disasters. It is a crucial source of valuable wood, honey, fish in its rivers, and above all, our life-saving fresh air.
No industrial project can be established within 10 square km of the Sundarbans as per government environmental laws. Many red category establishments have been allowed by the authorities flouting government rules made because the Sundarbans are under serious threat. The most controversial, the coal-based Rampal power plant, is going ahead ignoring the concerns of civil society, environmental activists and UNESCO. Many oil tankers are running in the rivers that is also harmful for the flora and fauna.
Hunters are killing tigers, deer, snakes, birds—illegal poaching of wildlife for their greedy business. Dishonest forest reserve officials are cutting trees without proper replanting. Rapidly expanding shrimp projects also pose a threat for the Sundarbans. Overall, the ecosystem of the Sundarbans has become extremely vulnerable to all forms of pollution and may lead to devastating consequences for the ecosystem's biodiversity. The biggest threat of all, of course, is global warming and climate change that will lead to rising sea levels in the Bay of Bengal side. To save the Sundarbans is necessary for our own safety, to keep the balance of biodiversity. Only sincere efforts by the government and public awareness can save the Sundarbans.
Md Zillur Rahaman
Justice delayed, justice denied
Ironically, I would say the Rana Plaza tragedy is one of our biggest achievements. Yes, it is true. In 2013, two of my French friends came to Bangladesh to see the wonderful beauty of the Sunderbans. They didn't know much about Bangladesh but they knew about the tragedy of Rana Plaza. I didn't know what to say when they asked many things regarding the tragedy including about the criminal Rana, the owner of Rana Plaza. Where is justice?
When Rana was fleeing after the tragedy, he was caught and brought to Dhaka by a helicopter of RAB. The people of our country became very glad as we thought that he would hang as soon as possible and it was remarkable that no lawyer stood beside him. But it is really a great matter of sorrow that five years have already passed but still our expectation is unfulfilled. Every year on April 24, in thousands, survivours, families of those dead, labour organisations and common people gather on the collapse site at Savar demanding justice. But the result is zero. We know very well that it was no accident. It was murder in broad daylight. All the people of our country are against Rana. Then, why is justice delayed?
Sayek Ahmed Sajib
Every year from Bangladesh more than 1,00,000 people go to perform the holy pilgrimage as it is one of the five pillars of Islam. Unfortunately however, pilgrims have to suffer frustrating problems every year. If pilgrims choose to go through private agencies many get swindled or they never get confirmation of their flight and other documents. If they choose government agencies the process is often very slow as most parts of the process are done manually which is a hassle and time-consuming.
Every year Hajj gets more and more expensive, but how and why no can answer. With “Digital Bangladesh”, things should be much easier but that's not the case. There are many pilgrims who pour their life's savings just to go to Hajj once and yet can't make it there even in a battered condition. Government authorities should impose stricter rules regulating private Hajj agencies so that travellers are at ease and make efforts to improve this sector with a holistic approach.