At a time of growing global awareness about the environment biodegradation continues in Bangladesh leading to serious concerns about the future of the country. According to an exclusive news item published in The Independent a large number of Sissoo trees are dying in the northern districts of the country being afflicted with the fungal disease 'dieback'. This by no means is a new phenomenon with the disease killing the trees, which promised to bring a fresh economic impetus in the region, for the last eight years. Despite assurances of foreign aid regarding the matter the authorities are doing nothing to stop the onslaught of the disease.

This attitude is particularly disturbing considering the fact that the Sissoo trees were planted with government patronage. The northern region, already has little tree cover compared to the rest of the country and if the trees in question have to damaged because of the ailment, it may well lead to irreversible environmental damage

Environment in Bangladesh has rarely managed to find a place in the list of priorities of the policymakers. It is easy to understand the reasons in a poor country but ignoring the environment can have disastrous impact on our future and is something we can ill afford. The impacts of environmental pollution may not be immediate but are sure to cost us heavily in the long run.

As we do not have adequate forest cover it is imperative that we plant more trees and preserve the old ones as much as possible. But though there have not been shortage of people exhorting about the beneficial aspects of trees few are ready to take effective actions to protect these trees that have over the years dwindled in numbers and Bangladesh, a country known for its green foliage is now facing the previously considered improbable threat of desertification in certain areas. Indiscriminate felling of trees for use as timber and charcoal means a quick buck for many unscrupulous traders and a bleak future for our environment. Strict laws do exist against illegal logging but like in many other fields it is the implementation of laws where things go awry.

Source: Editorial, The Independent, 20. 12. 02


This is an another example of developing help how a country can be deserted through advise from out side. Instead of planting local traditional trees Sissoo trees were planted. The "Sissoo" trees were brought from abroad in 70s like Eucalyptus that grow fast.

Jamal Anwar

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