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SDG 14: State of ‘Life below Water’ in Bangladesh

Published : Monday, 9 December, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 272
Shishir Reza

Shishir Reza

Shishir Reza

According to the research of UNCTAD - global seaborne trade would be augmented by 4.3% every year from 2018. We can ensure our participation in global seaborne trade by linking coastal states. Bangladesh can do it easily through the Chittagong, Mongla and Paira port. These three ports can be used as a transit. It will amplify our national income amazingly.
Marine bio-prospecting is an indispensable element of biotechnology.

It's a common matter that, oceans and seas are the source of a huge variety of life forms including macro and micro-organisms. Living marine resources have huge potential for developing new food, biochemical, pharmaceutical, cosmetics and bio-energy applications. About 18,000 natural products have been developed to date from about 4,800 marine organisms. What is more, the global market for marine biotechnology is projected to reach US$ 4.9 billion by 2018. Bangladesh has great potential to get the benefit from these living marine resources.

It is very important that, our government is working to reach electricity in each and every home by the year of 2021. In this context, Bangladesh has the highest potential like other coastal states to electricity generation from the offshore wind by using turbines. Global offshore wind capacity is growing at the incredible rate of 40% per year, producing 7, 100 megawatts of electricity in 2013. From this, it can be predicted that the growing demand of electricity can be mitigated by means of wind to produce electricity in Bangladesh.

Coral reefs are not only eye-catching ? rich in marine biota and endow with subsidence to coastal people. Coral reefs are serene of mostly calcium carbonate (caco3). In general, more than 50% of calcium carbonates of coral reefs are contributed by algae. It consists of corals, their skeletons and reef as fundamental ingredients.

Coral reefs are highly productive areas being the home of various types' of fish and other marine fauna are rich in biodiversity. In terms of economic and ecologic value, these are very insightful areas. Reef building corals necessitate warm and lucid water to breed and are found in shallow waters close to water's edge. As a result, these are vulnerable to toxic elements, contaminants and silt.

As functioning of protection from wave erosion coral reefs, all-inclusive there is some 600,000 km, 10 % of which is totally tainted and other 30% would degrade within next twenty years. Global augmentation of human population is the foremost root of dreadful conditions of coral reefs. Constructions on coral reef islands or alongside the coastal areas have led to unwarranted, domestic, farming and industrial contamination. The toxic elements being discharged in coastal waters find their way into reef area killing coral building polyps. Toxic elements put off larval development and destroy grown-up flora and fauna which are essential component of reef population. A mile of reef at Eilat in red sea (Israel) was scratched by unremitting oil and fertilizer pollution.

Fishing with toxin is extremely disparaging to reef systems. In addition, herbicides and pesticides from agricultural run-off can have solemn undesirable impacts on coral reef. Mess, nutrients and fertilizers lead to eutrophication and may be the foundation of death of reef organisms. Poverty in land using and deforestation leads too much silt being carried into the coastal waters. Also, reduces the dissemination of light thus leading to ultimate death of coral polyps. These are widespread practices in coastal areas of Bangladesh. Overexploitation of coral resources is another root of degradation in our country. Mining of coral reefs for lime in Sri Lanka has led to wearing away the seashore. Silt washed into the ocean area kill reef life causing permanent destruction of corals.
In Bangladesh, only a petite region in the St Martin's Island consists of coral reefs. Even that is being defenseless. The marine sciences institute, Chittagong--had isolated 13 genera of corals in the area also several species of fish and algae. The island supports 85 species of birds, 12 species of mammals, more than 20 species of reptiles and 4 species of amphibians.

Ecological humiliation of this minute coral ecosystem ? the only one in Bangladesh, is due to assorted on-site and off-site anthropogenic and natural hazards. On-site and off-site pollution from household, manufacturing and ship sources and from fishing trawlers plying on the waters are focal threats to the coral reef ecology. Agricultural run-offs from plain land and processing of fish for drying also contribute to contamination of reef waters. Compilation of corals and shells for money-making purposes and overfishing in ocean area are also causes of dreadful conditions. Plying of boats and trawlers in the bay area ? for the purpose of fishing or transporting people, goods, and anchoring those boats detrimental to reefs.

In general, in our coral reefs area there is no command over tourists who visit the island and no regulations restricting their negative externality. Walking over the reefs, collecting of shells and breaking off corals ? contribute to demolition of reefs.

During the monsoon, rivers carry heavy loads of silt into sea, recurrent flash floods in the mainland carry sediments into the sea. Silt and sediment hinders coral escalation and are important causes of degradation of coral reefs in Himchari and the St Martin's Island.
Unless indigenous strategies are followed in protecting the reefs, we may soon annihilate this attractive land of biodiversity. The government has declared St. Martins island an ecologically endangered area. Even if the government encourages eco-tourism, only guided tours should be permissible in the St Martin's Island. Tourist should be informed about regulations and protective measures coral reef Island. In fact, rules and regulations should be situate and revealed.

Time has come for the inhabitants of the island should be aware about the upshot of the destruction of coral reef ecosystem. The unfavorable impact on the fisheries itself may guide the fishermen to make use of the fishing grounds more sensibly. It is possible to prevent local pollution through educating the inhabitants and monitoring their activities.  We have to deal with off-site contamination through pollution control policies. Apart from that, government has to come forward with home-grown agricultural and forest management strategies to thwart top soil erosion, which has turned into a danger to the endurance of coral reefs and ecological security.

Bay of Bengal is full of fisheries resources. We can easily access benefits from utilizing fisheries resources from the sea. Bangladesh gets 60 lac tons of fishes every year from the Bay of Bengal. It is about 16% of the world's total production. Marine fisheries contribute at least 20% of total fish production in Bangladesh and 50, 0000 people fully and directly dependent on the sector.

In terms of salt manufacture, presently we are producing salt by using small refinery units. The quantity of production is not enough. Production of industrial salt can be done using advanced technologies and eventually it becomes an exporting product. Diverse researches mention, natural resources particularly, minerals--copper, magnesium, nickel and precious metals, including cobalt in the seabed are available Bangladesh. Through exploring mineral resources, we can supply industrial raw materials in different industries.

The writer is an Environmental Analyst & Associate Member, Bangladesh Economic Association

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