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Campaigners bank on public opinion to save environment PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 23 June 2008

Bdnews24.com

Environment campaigner Prof Zillur Rahman Siddiqui Saturday asked for moulding public opinion to save dying forests and rivers.

"The rate at which the forest is depleting is alarming. All must come forward to save the forests and the rivers," Rahman said speaking as the chief guest at the inauguration of a photo exhibition titled "Madhupur and Lawachhara: Stolen Forest, Threatened Heritage" and a roundtable at Drik Gallery in Dhanmondi.

"Public opinion has to be built up to force the government into action to save the environment."

Prof Rahman expressed concern over the environmental degradation due to pressure of population, urbanisation and other causes. He said arable land had greatly shrunk but the farmers were still coming up with huge production.

"The farmers and other ordinary people don't do corruption. We are trying to come out of the vicious cycle of criminalisation of society."

He said the movements of the environmentalist organisations had got different dimensions. He hoped that the environmentalists would play a more active role in preventing environmental degradation.

Dr Noazesh Ahmed, an agricultural scientist, taking part in the discussion, said: "In Bangladesh everything is in chaos. There is no coordination among the government, the hills people and the people in general. If the government takes the people into confidence and uses modern technology it will not be difficult to save the environment."

Prof Dwijen Sharma, who writes about environmental issues, said: "Not only Madhupur and Lawachhara forests, the whole of Bangladesh is now facing a serious environmental threat." He said if the environmental movement was a success the government would also get involved with it.

Criticising the greening programme of donor agencies, Prof Anu Muhammad, a critic on oil, gas and mineral issues, said: "Forests are disappearing because of those who want to occupy Bangladesh. If we fail to build resistance against them the lives and resources in the country will be endangered."

He emphasised more research to save the forests.

Farhad Mazhar, an environmentalist and writer, said: "The hills people have to be saved if the forests are to be protected. All of Bangladesh is dependent on hills and forests."

He said none is eager to formulate laws on protecting the bio-diversity of the country.

The Society for Environment and Human Development organised the photo exhibition and the discussion.

SEHD director Philip Gain presented the key-note paper. A documentary, "Amader Shalbon", directed by Ronald Halder, was screened.

The photo exhibition will be open from 3pm to 8pm and the documentary can be watched from 6pm to 7pm every day from June 21 to June 27.

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