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88 ponds to be dug, re-excavated

The initiative aims to protect biodiversity in Sundarbans

Published : 02 Feb 2021 09:29 PM | Updated : 27 Feb 2021 09:50 AM

The forest department has taken an initiative to dig and re-excavate 88 ponds inside the Sundarbans to reduce the amount of damage and protect the biodiversity. 

Experts said that the initiative would reduce salinity of rivers which will protect the low-salt tolerant trees and wildlife.

According to forest department sources, the world’s largest mangrove forest, the Sundarbans, is under increasing threat from nature and human aggression. 

The amount of salinity has increased in the rivers flowing through the forest, they mentioned. As a result, on the one hand, Sundari and low salt tolerant trees are being damaged, they said adding that, on the other hand, it is affecting the wildlife. The Sundarbans is constantly being damaged due to siltation, river erosion and heavy navigation, the experts, studying the biodiversity of the Sundarbans, said. 

The ponds will be dug deeper and re-excavated to protect the biodiversity of the Sundarbans from various damages and also allow sweet water for drinking by the animals, they mentioned.

An official of the forest department said that a total of 88 ponds will be dug and re-excavated as per the plan. 

“Some ponds have been filled for a long time due to natural disasters. Besides, concrete landing areas will be constructed in 70 ponds of saline forest flooded by tidal water.

The officials further said that if these ponds are dug, the demand for fresh water of about 400 species of wild animals including tigers and Spotted (Mayabi) deer will be met. 

Besides, the demand for water will also be met by the officials and employees of the forest department in the Sundarbans and the foresters and tourists.

It is learned that the ponds will be dug in the Sundarbans where there is an abundance of wild animals including Royal Bengal Tiger and Spotted deer.

Tk 4.98 crore has been spent on digging and re-excavating the pond with the funding of Climate Trust Fund. The excavation is targeted to be completed by next June.

In this context, Md Amir Hossain Chowdhury, the Chief Conservator of the Forest Department, said, “If this initiative is successful, the water demand of almost all the species of animals in the Sundarbans will be met.”

Sources said that two new ponds will be dug in Dubla of Sharankhola Range in the eastern Sundarbans division of Bagerhat and three new ponds in Bagi. 

Besides, 24 ponds will be re-excavated in this range. There are four ponds in Kachikhali Sanctuary, three in Dubla area, two in Sharankhola Range Sadar and two in Dashervarani.

Besides, one pond each is being re-excavated in Dumuria, Charkhali, Terabeka, Chandeshwar, Shapla, Bhola, Shelarchar, Kokilmuni and Supati.

A total of 26 ponds are being re-excavated in Chapai range. Among them, three ponds will be re-excavated in Dhansagar area, two in Gulishakhali and two in Amurbunia area.

However, the area of Bangladesh part of the Sundarbans is 6,017 square kilometers. Which is 51 percent of the country's protected forest land. There are 334 species of plants in the Sundarbans including Sundari, Gewa, Garan and Pashur. 

There are 365 species of wildlife. These include 42 species of mammals, including tigers and deer.

There are 35 species of reptiles - including crocodiles, guisaps, turtles, dolphins, pythons and king cobras and 315 species of birds.