With the theme ‘connecting people to nature’, Bangladesh along with global communities will celebrate the World Environment Day 2017 today.
This year’s celebrations focus on encouraging people to get outdoors and into nature and feel its beauty and importance in order to protect the shared earth, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres in a message issued on Friday said that the environment, as the keystone of sustainable future, is a combination of oceans, land, forest, water and air.
Guterres urged the global citizen to use less plastic, drive less, waste less food and teach each other to care
for the nature.
‘Without a healthy environment we cannot end poverty or build prosperity,’ he said.
Local nature conservationists, however, observed that the people of the country were mostly reluctant to protect natural resource-rich environment, thus appeared as destroyers of nature amid non-implementation of conservation laws and lack of awareness of the importance of healthy environment.
Pointing to the government failure to sensitise people on green issues, they said that the country’s inbound tourism, targeting the natural resource-rich locations like the Sunderbans, Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong Hill Tracts, hilly Sylhet and others, had been flourishing at the expense of the environment.
Tourism sector people admitted that irresponsible tourism and relaxed implementation of the conservation acts had transformed the beautiful mangroves and sea beaches into waste dumping zones.
Syed Mahbubul Islam, chief executive officer of Riverain Tours, blamed the tourists who visit the Sunderbans by non-registered vessels for dumping rampantly plastic bottles and food wastes into the cannel and creeks showing complete disregard to forest department’s rules.
He also pointed finger at irresponsible tourism for threatening the ever dying corals of the country’s lone coral-island Saint Martin’s.
Md Nasiruddin, chief executive officer of Bangladesh Tourism Board, said that implementation of conservation laws alone was not enough to protect the environment from irresponsible tourism. ‘People should first love the nature and feel the importance of a healthy environment,’ he said.
Ishtiaq Uddin Ahmad, Bangladesh representative of the International Union for Conservation and Nature, said that conservation-based awareness campaign should be institutionalised for the sake of nature. ‘Students who are dominating the inbound tourism here should be taught about preservation of the sites they are visiting quite often for their self-refreshment,’ said Ishtiaq.
He added that this year’s theme was not only set for the nature-based tourism but also for building awareness among the locals who were depended on natural resources.
Celebrating the day, two dedicated government departments, environment and forests, have jointly organised a month-long Environment and Tree Plantation Fair at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre at Agargaon in Dhaka, which was inaugurated on Sunday.
Meanwhile, green campaigners’ group Connecting People to Nature held a human chain at the altar of Aparajeyo Bangla on the Dhaka University campus on Sunday and urged the UN to make Bangladesh the host nation for the next year’s world environment day as it was among the most environmentally vulnerable countries.
The World Environment Day is being celebrated globally on this day since 1974. Canada is the host nation for this year’s celebrations.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country