Experts urged to ratify Minamata Convention to phase out mercury-added products পারদযুক্ত পণ্যের ব্যবহার বন্ধে মিনামাতা কনভেনশন অনুমোদনের আহ্বান সেন্টমার্টিন সৈকতে প্লাস্টিকের আগ্রাসন 72 birds die eating pesticide-treated masakalai Educate girls to save the planet শিশুর সর্দি-কাশি সারানোর ঘরোয়া উপায় 50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They’re 12 24 thousand under 5 children die of pneumonia in Bangladesh annually গ্রিনহাউস গ্যাস কমানোর লক্ষ্যে নানা উদ্যোগ Maldives: Eco-friendly product export destination for Bangladesh

Will Bangladesh and India turn the Sundarbans into a busy shipping lane?


The continuous, manifold increase in international, regional and inland shipping, through threatened wildlife sanctuaries and reserves poses a threat. Shipping and navigation through the Sundarbans is booming like never before. Unauthorised navigation routes are expanding. The vessels range from ocean-going mother and feeder cargo ships, container carriers, tankers, lighterage ships, mid-size bulk cargo and tankers from inland waterways, and trans-boundary cargo ships between Bangladesh and India. Without any sort of environmental management in place, this increasing navigation and shipping are multiplying the risk of accidents/spills and regular pollution in the world’s largest mangrove forest. It was a quiet and cool at daybreak in the world’s largest mangrove forest – the Sundarbans – on December 28, 2008; amidst the morning mist, I was heading towards the wildlife sanctuary. I was tired and fell asleep on the deck as soon as the mechanised boat sailed, only to find myself rudely awakened, with a giant cargo ship before my eyes, its siren-sound in my ears. From the master bridge, the cargo crew was shouting toward our tiny boat over loudspeakers. In response, our boatman was desperately explaining ‘something’ with a diverse range of sign languages, it seemed. The fact that we weren’t flying the Bangladeshi flag meant the cargo ship suspected us of being pirates. In the middle of all this, I somehow managed to locate where we were. That’s when the question hit me: why is there a cargo vessel on the Arpangasia river, deep inside the forest? Accident or no accident, Sundarbans suffers daily. Now, eight years after that face-off, in these times of controversy and protests against a coal-fired mega-power plant in the impact zone of the Sundarbans, the forest faces a very high volume of shipping and navigation every day. Data from the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority shows a 102% increase in cargo carrying between India and Bangladesh through Sundarban waterways over the past 8 years. In 2008-09, a total of 9,44,422 metric tons of cargo was transported between India and Bangladesh under the arrangement of the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWT&T); and in the last fiscal it was 19,12,526 metric tons. The PIWT&T was first signed in 1972 and since then it has been continuing without any interruption. The latest renewal was signed on June 6, 2015. There are eight navigation routes permitted under this protocol, four among those are laid near the Sundarbans. Officially, the the acknowledged routes of PIWT&T are drawn along northern edge of the forest. However, during my participation in several learning trips throughout the last year I have found that the vessels use four major de facto routes laid through the river and canals of the reserve forests and wildlife sanctuaries. I have encountered vessels deep inside the forest and even in the Sundarban West Wildlife Sanctuary – which is also a UNESCO world heritage site – and on the Arpangasia, Jamuna and Malancha rivers too. In the first half of 2015, on average of 228 vessels used these routes monthly.

Read More: http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/environment/2016/09/13/will-bangladesh-india-turn-sundarbans-busy-shipping-lane-2/

 

 

Posted by on Sep 20 2016. Filed under Bangladesh Exclusive. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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