In five cities of Bangladesh, including Dhaka, the environment is rapidly destroyed
In the country’s five major cities, environmental destruction has increased rapidly in the last 30 years. Water bodies and forests have been destroyed in these cities, including their Biodiversity.
Between 1991 and 2021, these cities’ residents have been deprived of services worth about BDT60 billion. Such information has emerged in a study on Dhaka, Chattagram, Rajshahi, Khulna, and Sylhet.
Nine persons from Oxford University in the United Kingdom, New Castle University in Australia, Curtin University, Calgary University in Canada, Chittagong University, Chattagram University of Engineering and Technology, and Noakhali Science and Technology University did the research. The research was published earlier this month in the international science journal Ecological Informatics.
According to the study, all five cities have been built on the river’s banks. Dhaka alongside the Buriganga River, Chattagram alongside the Karnaphuli River, Rajshahi alongside the Ganges, Khulna alongside the Rupsa River, and Sylhet alongside the Surma River.
Rapid population growth in these cities has put pressure on rivers and wetlands. The population is increasing to 11.5 percent in Dhaka, 5 percent in Rajshahi, and 4 percent in Chattagram.
Ashraf Dewan, a member of the research team and an associate professor at Curtin University in Australia, said, “Water bodies and green areas of this city are getting destroyed for the existing management.”
However, from these elements of nature, we get temperature control, food supply, and a healthy climate. By destroying these, we are not getting services due to the construction of concrete buildings, roads, and various infrastructures. In this, the temperature in the cities is increasing rapidly and becoming unfit for living.
Ecosystem services are the services that humans and other animals receive when essential features of a natural environment persist. For example, concrete areas are 1 to 3 degrees Celsius warmer than water areas.
People use electric fans, air conditioners, and other things when the temperature is high. Green vegetation helps reduce the temperature and creates a habitat for fruits, herbs, birds, and animals. These are considered ecosystem services.
According to the study, Sylhet city has lost the most wetlands in the last 30 years. Due to wetland reduction, Dhaka’s residents have been most deprived of financial services. In 1991, 27 and a half percent of the area in Dhaka was green.
In 2021, it decreased to 10.14 percent. Apart from this, Sylhet decreased from 50 to 20 percent, Khulna decreased from 40 to 32 percent, and Chittagong decreased from 28 to 18 percent.
Sarfraz Gani, one of the research team’s teachers at Chattagram University of Engineering and Technology, said, “The environment of our cities is getting destroyed for the sake of some influential groups.”
The study assessed the financial value of 16 types of ecosystem services. These include clean air, recreation, carbon emission control, water supply, soil protection, and waste management. Due to the destruction of the environment, the city dwellers have to pay extra for these services.
The study emphasizes planned urbanization to reduce the financial toll of ecosystem destruction and guidance regarding what kind of preparations should make to deal with the risk of damage due to climate change.