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3:54 am | July 13, 2024
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tourists must know how to conserve the environment to protect st. martin island
Adnan Mahfuz Tazvir Environmental Economics

Tourists must know how to conserve the environment to protect St. Martin Island

Tourists must know how to conserve the environment to protect St. Martin Island

adnan mahfuz tazvir

The Cox’s Bazar Forest and Environment Conservation Council, an environmental group, issued a memorandum to the Prime Minister on Wednesday afternoon demanding control of tourist travel and a ban on overnight staying to save St. Martin would be the only atoll in the country. This memorandum was given to the Prime Minister through Deputy Commissioner  Mamunur Rashid.

According to the memorandum, some selfish and greedy businessmen are now involved in destroying nature and biodiversity in Cox’s Bazar.  They have destroyed the only coral island in the country, the green land of the natural universe.

St. Martin is a small island in the Bay of Bengal.  Its area is only three square miles (7.77 square kilometers). The current population is about 12 thousand. There are more than two hundred residential hotels.

None has valid approval or environmental clearance.  The boat-like island of St. Martin cannot withstand the pressure of 12,000 people, more than 200 residential hotels, 3,000 buildings, including government buildings.

 Of these, more than 10,000 tourists spend the night there for at least six months of the tourist season every year. As a result, the biodiversity of this ecologically endangered island has been destroyed. The stench made the environment heavy.

To protect St. Martin’s, the Cox’s Bazar Forest and Environment Conservation Council are demanding that the next three years of the ST. Martin Island should be marked by implementing a master plan and formulating policies to stop tourism. If this is not possible, by registration, not more than 600 tourists should be allowed to visit the island every day and ban the tourists from staying overnight.

Deepak Sharma, president of the Forest and Environment Conservation Council, said St. Martin’s Island was devastated by the daily pressure of 10,000 tourists and 12,000 locals.  The coral island has become polluted with the excrement and garbage of 22,000 people.

There is no sewerage system for more than two hundred hotels and multi-story buildings. Through using electric pumps, regular pumping of St. Martin’s groundwater; Exterminated various aquatic animals, including algae, corals, turtles, red crabs, snails, oysters are held.

Due to open defecation and environmental degradation activities, the island is no longer what it was before. The environment is getting heavy with stench.

Deepak Sharma said the groundwater level in St. Martin’s Island is fragile.  Due to the influx of tourists, excess water is extracted during the tourist season.

The saltwater is coming from the tube well of the island, which has had a major negative impact on the lives of St. Martin’s residents. The memorandum states that St. Martin’s Island is an environmentally critical area.  It won’t be easy to recover if there is an environmental or any other catastrophe.

If these natural disasters, which were natural to protect the island, were to be disrupted then the island would be doomed.

Many of the island’s various flora and fauna are already lost.  Various animals, including sea turtles, came to St. Martin’s and Chhera Island to lay eggs.  According to the survey, its number has dropped drastically.

Due to excessive public gatherings, lighting of lamps at night of people,  laying of eggs, and roaming of these turtles are reducing.  If actions are not taken now, it won’t be easy to protect the environment.

According to the Department of the Environment, the government declared St. Martin’s Island an Environmentally Critical Area (ECA) in 1999 to protect the island’s biodiversity.  Surrounded by crystal clear water and coral reefs, the island is located on the southeastern border of Bangladesh with Myanmar.

St. Martin is also a breeding ground for sea turtles. St. Martin has sixty-eight species of corals, one hundred and fifty-one species of algae, one hundred and ninety-one species of mollusks, forty species of crabs, two hundred and thirty-four species of marine fish, five species of dolphins, four species of amphibians, twenty species of reptiles, one hundred and twenty species of birds, twenty species of mammals, one hundred and seventy-five species of plants, two species of bats and various species of animals.

These animals are now on the verge of extinction.  Many animals are slowly disappearing due to man-made pollution during the difficult times of climate change.

Deputy Commissioner Mamunur Rashid accepted the memorandum and said that the government also wants the environment of St. Martin to be protected.  The importance of St. Martin will increase for tourists if the natural environment is protected.  And if there is no natural environment on the island, tourists will not come.

General Secretary of Forest and Environment Conservation Council Mohammad Junaid, Officer Chandan Kanti Das, Joint General Secretary Raihan Uddin Chowdhury, Environmentalist Kamal Uddin, Rajib Devdash, and others were present at the time of handing over the memorandum.

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