Raising awareness about environmental responsibility on two wheels
Mohammad Saiful Islam, Sanchita Barman Mim, and Rafi Nur Hamid cycled across various districts of Bangladesh to educate people about environmental responsibility. Through this initiative, the three friends learned about different cultures, and raised awareness about plastic pollution.
"Saiful and I planned the trip. We maintained all the safety protocols throughout our journey. We used face masks at all times and avoided crowded areas," shared Sanchita, a student of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB).
They initiated their journey on May 14. It took them 17 days to cover the entire route. "I wanted to see the border while Sanchita wanted to visit Srimangal. Eventually she designed a route that covered all these places," Saiful shared.
Their first destination was Bhairab, followed by Srimangal, Sylhet, Moulvibazar, Jaflong, Bholaganj, Takerghat, Durgapur and Mymensingh. They tried to visit popular tourist attractions in these areas. "I had a completely different route plan and changed my track after meeting Sanchita and Saiful," shared Rafi Nur Hamid, another student from ULAB.
Arranging accommodation was one of their biggest challenges. "Since we had not planned where to stay, it was difficult for us to manage accommodation at the last moment. Hotel rents were really high and we stayed with local families. Throughout the trip, we met some wonderful people, who made this trip successful and memorable," Sanchita added.
"At Jaflong, we faced a heavy storm. I was about to quit but my teammates were so determined that we managed to paddle to our destination. Good teammates make difficult roads easier," she further said. The team came across an unusual tea stall at Takerghat. The owner, Ratan Mia, had taken a loan from Grameen Bank to plant trees in the surrounding region. He also had dustbins in front of his stall and intended to take another loan to plant more trees.
"We cleaned the Hum Hum waterfall trail and urged visitors to use dustbins. We also asked local shopkeepers to keep dustbins and spread awareness about environmental cleanliness," Saiful said.
The trio plans to organise more cycling trips in the future. "During this journey, we met different people, faced challenges and travelled muddy and broken roads together. These experiences have inspired me," Rafi concluded.
The author is a freelance journalist who likes reading, planning, and scribbling. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.