Last May, tourist boats were stopped for a few days for dumping plastic materials in Satkhira range area of Sundarbans. A trawler and its owner were arrested and booked under the Forest Act for the same offence. Another person was fined 30 thousand rupees. However, no cases, fines or arrests have been made in this crime in the previous five years.
Abdul Halim, the owner of the trawler at Burigoalini Ghat, said, “On our part, tourists are warned not to throw plastic waste in the river or in the forest while traveling by trawler. Each trawler has a dustbin to dispose of these materials. But there are localities next to the Sundarbans. There plastic items are used in various social events. If they are thrown in the river, they float into the forest with the tide. And we are blamed.
Munshiganj Ghat Trawler Owners Association President Anichur Rahman said, ‘Employees of each of our trawlers are always careful not to throw plastic materials in the forest and river. Trawler owners have also been given strict instructions by the association. However, many times new tourists visit Sundarbans and destroy the environment by throwing plastic materials without our knowledge. Not only should we be blamed here, tourists should also be aware.
In this regard, Burigoalini Station Officer of Satkhira Range, Nurul Alam said that thousands of tourists travel to Sundarbans by trawlers every day through this part of Sundarbans. At that time, they took plastic bottles, food in plastic packets, packets of chips, plastic one-time plates, glasses etc. After using them, they throw them in the river water or in the Sundarbans. As a result, the Sundarbans eco system is getting damaged.
He said, we have repeatedly warned the trawler owners. A few days ago, a trawler and its owner were arrested in this crime. A case was later given. A person has been fined Rs 30,000 for the same offence.
Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF) of Sundarban Satkhira Range AKM Iqbal Hoshain Chowdhury said that throwing plastic materials in Sundarbans river is completely prohibited. Dustbins are provided at each of our tourist centers to dispose of these materials.
He said, recently a directive has come from the Ministry of Forest and Environment to be strict about plastic materials. Strict action will be taken against those who throw plastics in Sundarbans and rivers.
At present, entry of fishermen and crab fishing boats is prohibited in the Sundarbans for three months. Pass permits will be issued again from September 1. Each trawler will then be allowed to enter the Sundarbans after inspecting plastic waste management. At the same time, leaflets will be distributed and signboards will be installed to make tourists aware.