DHAKA, June 5: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday called upon all to plant at least three saplings and nurture those with care to preserve the environment for ensuring a pleasant future for the next generation.
“Plant at least three saplings -- fruit bearing, timber and medicinal -- and also nurture those with care,” she said, also urging all to plant rare, near extinct and endangered species of trees.
The Prime Minister gave the call while addressing the inaugural function of the World Environment Day and the three-month long National Tree Plantation Drive and Tree Fair 2012 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city.
Sheikh Hasina termed the theme of this year’s `National Tree Plantation Campaign - Green Cities, Green Country, Bangladesh, a country of red and green’ as very appealing and time befitting.
She said Bangladesh is observing the World Environment Day to create mass awareness about the need of preserving environment. This year’s theme of the Day -- ‘Green Economy: Does it include you?’ -- is very significant.
The Prime Minister urged the entrepreneurs to introduce resource-saving technology and go for zero–waste producing method in phases to prevent industrial pollution.
Underscoring the need for using surface water to reduce dependence on underground water, she said that the present government is conducting a massive dredging programme to increase navigability of rivers. She also stressed the need for preserving rainwater.
Hasina said that her government has taken initiative to plant trees on government forests, homesteads, fallow and marginal lands, beside roads and railway tracks, riverbanks, newly emerged chars and khas lands, and on the premises of educational institutions as the trees protect the environment and also help sustain people’s livelihood.
She said the present government has undertaken massive afforestation programme in the coastal areas to combat the challenges of climate change as well as to protect ecological balance. As a result, about 1200 square kilometres of new areas have been added to the mainland of the country.
Hasina said the community-based adaptation to climate change through coastal afforestation in Bangladesh project has been awarded the UNDP prize while the co-management committee of Chunti Sanctuary of Chittagong has received the UN Equator award.
She said social afforestation is playing an important role in alleviating poverty and her government has so far distributed Tk 178 crore among 102,000 families under the social afforestation programme.
A total of 10 crore saplings were produced in the country last year under public and private initiatives, she mentioned.
The Prime Minister said the government has enacted Bangladesh Environment Court Act 2010 keeping provision of establishing environment courts and special magistrate courts in every district.
Besides, she said it established 15 national parks and wildlife sanctuaries and introduced the Bangabandhu Award for Wildlife Conservation to encourage protection of wildlife.
She mentioned that Bangladesh has signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with India to protect tigers and ecosystem of the Sundarbans.
Hasina further said that Bangladesh has also undertaken a project titled ‘Strengthening Regional Cooperation for Wildlife Protection’ with India, Nepal and Bhutan for regional cooperation in protecting eco-system.
She said one of the main objectives of Vision 2021 of the present government is to build a Bangladesh of green economy through conservation and improvement of environment.
The Prime Minister said Green energy is needed for Green growth and Green economy. The government has formulated Renewable Energy policy and is giving special priority to Clean Development Mechanism.
She said the government has set up a Climate Change Trust Fund to combat adverse impacts of climate change and allocated Tk 2100 crore in the last three fiscals from own resources. It also constituted a Bangladesh Climate Change Resilient Fund with the help of development partners.
For controlling air pollution, the government is implementing a project titled `Clean Air and sustainable Environment’ in collaboration with the World Bank, she added.
Hasina said the government has also created a model of afforestation and sustainable livelihood in Char Kukri Mukri.
She also listed the other steps her government has taken to combat the adverse impacts of climate change and protect bio-diversity. The steps include creation of new forests, river dredging, and use of optimum fertilizer.
Earlier, the Prime Minister distributed `National Environment Medal 2012’ to three individual and organizations, the `Bangabandhu Award for Wildlife Conservation’ to three individual and organizations, and the `Prime Minister’s Award for Tree Plantation’ to 45 individuals and organizations in 15 categories.
She also released a commemorative stamp on the occasion.
Chaired by Environment and Forests Minister Dr Hassan Mahmud, the function was also addressed, among others, by Secretary General of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Michel Jarraud, Environment and Forests Secretary Mezbaul Alam, and DG of Department of Environment Monwar Islam.
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