Deforestation has resulted in frequent epidemics
Forests protect the entire world from various natural disasters and health risks. However, due to deforestation, the environment and public lives face multiple problems.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), forest cover accumulates different plants in at least 0. 5 hectares per hectare of land.
Deforestation or forest clearance is removing a forest or trees from land converted to a non-forest use. Deforestation can involve the conversion of forest land to farms, ranches, or urban use.
We know that forests cover 30 percent of the Earth’s surface. Forests are the lungs of the planet. Plants absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen and keep the soil moist by providing shade and protecting the surrounding environment.
But when a forest tree is cut down or burned, the humidity decreases and dries up the plants, and causes natural disasters.
Various natural disasters, diseases, and the drying up of tropical rainforests trigger fires, which quickly destroy forests. Humans, as well as forest animals, are severely affected. Apart from that, various infectious diseases are originating.
Scientists have repeatedly warned about this for two decades. They say that the more human beings cross the border into the forest, the more the various diseases caused by wild animals will infect the human race.
Anna Lucie Tourinho, an ecologist at the Federal University of Mato Grosso in Brazil, was not surprised after the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.
She is researching how forests and societies get sick when the ecological balance is disturbed. A chaotic situation arises when a new virus leaves its natural habitat and enters the human body. The coronavirus is pointing the finger at us.
Before the outbreak of the corona, several scientific studies had warned of the destruction of bats’ habitat due to deforestation and the spread of new epidemics.
Anita Affelt, a researcher at the University of Warsaw in Poland, said in her study that the next major infectious disease outbreak would be in Asia. She said that in the last 40 years, there has been severe deforestation in Asia.
The deforestation in Bangladesh is more than the amount of forestation every year. According to the FAO, about 1.4 percent of the world’s forest was cleared during 2000-2015. In Bangladesh, it is 2.6 percent. Every year, two thousand six hundred hectares of forest deforestation occurs. The protected forest is also getting no rid of deforestation.
One of the world’s best-known protected forests, the Sundarbans has shrunk in size and density. According to the last two decades (2000-2020), the amount of vegetation in the Sundarbans has declined drastically in the NGO Development Exploration study. The density of forests has also decreased. The amount of vacant and fallow land is increasing due to deforestation.
The Sundarbans is down by half. The forest cover in Bangladesh was 17 thousand sq km in 2006, but according to the 2016 census, it is now 6 thousand 46 sq km.
According to a report presented by the Forest Department in a meeting of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Bangladesh, 2,57,158 acres of forest land got occupied across the country.
As per the Report, 1 lakh 60 thousand 566 influential individuals and organizations have forcibly occupied these forest lands. They built houses or factories after occupying the land.
In a nutshell, deforestation is accelerating due to increasing population pressure, industrialization, urbanization, agricultural expansion.
Consequently, Earth’s temperature rises, causing the polar ice caps to melt. Global coastal low-lying areas are at risk of flooding.
The coastal lowlands of Bangladesh are most at risk of drowning in sea saltwater. The soil and water in the coastal areas are becoming increasingly saline. Due to the melting of polar ice caps, new microorganisms are releasing and causing infectious diseases.
We all need to be aware to protect the forest. In recent years, the number of trees has increased outside of natural forests through private plantations, commercial gardens, and social forestry.
We all need to work together to save the forest. We have to refrain from cutting down trees indiscriminately. Deforestation should bring under the law by abusing political or economic power.