Mark Whittington, a UK-funded expert adviser, arrived here on Wednesday, soon after the British High Commission in Dhaka announced his country’s support for the clean-up operation in the Sundarbans, the world heritage site, following a disastrous oil spill on December 9.
At the request of the UN and the government of Bangladesh, the UK has decided to provide an expert adviser to support the oil-spill clean-up activities, according to the British High Commission in Dhaka.
Mark Whittington is as an ITOPF (The International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited) expert, and attended shipping incidents around the world. He will work with the government of Bangladesh and the UN to implement recommendations made by a recently completed assessment in the Sundarbans.
He advises and supports the design of contingency plans related to accidental pollution from ships. Whittington has a specific area an extensive expertise in regards to clean-up operations in mangrove contexts.
Meanwhile, the expert met the British High Commissioner Robert Gibson and DFID Bangladesh Country Representative Sarah Cooke upon arrival.
During his discussion, Gibson said, “The Sundarbans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is very special to the people of Bangladesh, and we’re all responsible to protect it.”
He said he is pleased that the UK can provide support with the expertise of Mark to assist the Bangladesh government in tackling the incident. “This is a clear example of the UK’s ongoing support to the government of Bangladesh for coordinated planning and response to disasters.”
The Sundarbans, one of the world’s largest mangrove forests, is an area of global environmental importance and is home to a range of endangered species of animals, including the Bengal tiger and Irrawaddy dolphin.
The Sundarbans also provides south-west Bangladesh with a natural buffer which helps to lessen the impact of cyclones and storm surges and so is of national importance.