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Newly formed land in Bay to be mapped with mainland this year   

Published : Friday, 15 October, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 520

Around 250 square kilometers, a total of 25,000 hectares of newly developed land of an island (char) accreted in the Bay of Bengal, are being included with Bangladesh's mainland in this year.
Of the land, around 193.95sqkm, equivalent to 19,395 hectares, has already been included with the mainland in the last four years while the rest 56.05sqkm (5,605 hectares) will be included by December this year, according to the government's 'Afforestation in Coastal Region including the Newly Accreted Chars of Bay of Bengal Project' officials.
With an estimated budget of Tk 104.80 crore, the project was taken in 2015 and started working on 2016 to accelerate accretion and stabilize newly accreted char land, increase green vegetation coverage as protective shelter belt against cyclone and tidal surge as adaptive measure against adverse effects of climate change, increase carbon sink to help mitigation of climate
change impacts and increase biodiversity of marine flora and fauna through improvement of habitat and breeding facilities.
With the inclusion, the total volume of country's mainland would increase to 1, 34,160sqkm from 1, 33,910sqkm, according to the project officials.
The Department of Forest (DoF) has been implementing the project in the coastal belts of 67 upazilas under nine districts - Potuakhali, Barguna, Pirojpur, Bhola, Noakhali, Laksmipur, Feni, Chattogram and Cox's Bazar.
While talking to this correspondent, Project Director Harun Or Rashid Khan said works of afforestation in existing chars are going on. But, new chars are not available in some upazilas. If new chars arise by this time, afforestation will be carried out there under the project. Otherwise, the project deadline will have to be extended.
Under the project, there was a proposal to create 1,000 strip gardens by roads and rail trucks in the coastal areas. It also aims to plant gardens in 40,000 residential blocks in the coastal areas. The targets were almost fulfilled.
He said under the project, they had already created 25,000 hectares of mangrove forests. Under the project, mangrove trees such as Keora, Bain, Kakra and Geowa per hectare are being planted in the project area and the afforestation is supposed to be completed by December next year.
He said they were now working to complete afforestation at Rangabali and Golachipa of Potuakhali, Patharghata of Barguna, Charfashion and Monpura of Bhola, Hatiya of Noakhali and Sandweep of Chattogram districts. Harun Or Rashid said there are around 700 rivers spreading like a net in the country. Of those, 57 rivers are trans-boundary. Of the 57 rivers, 54 rivers entered the country from India while three rivers are connected from Myanmar.
The chars are being accreted in the coastal area rivers depositing around 1.4 billion metric tonnes of silts.
In some areas, chars of 70sqkm to 80sqkm, around 7,000 hectares to 8,000 hectares, are being accreted. To protect the chars, it's a must to take projects of social afforestation, he added.
He also informed as works of the project were interrupted due to Covid-19 pandemic, they requested the government to extend its duration. "It would be extended," he hoped.

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