The Financial Express

Hakaluki Haor to be listed as ‘Ramsar site’

Evaly and Fianancial Express Evaly and Fianancial Express
A watch tower in the Hakaluki Haor 	—  FE Photo A watch tower in the Hakaluki Haor — FE Photo

SYLHET, Nov 26: Hakaluki Haor, the country's largest water body spreading over a vast area in Sylhet and neighbouring Moulvibazar district, is going to be listed as 'Ramsar site', the third in Bangladesh soon.

The rich habitat of fish, birds as well as of different plants, part of Hakaluki has already been made a fish sanctuary.

Preparation in this regard is going on, sources said. The two existing Ramsar sites in Bangladesh are the Sundarbans and Tanguar haor.

The Department of Environment held a regional workshop on the issue last week in Moulvibazar.

Environment, Forest and climate change ministry's secretary Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdhury was present as the chief guest while additional Secretary Dr SM Manzurul Hannan was the special guest.

A number of officials including upazila nirbahi officer, agriculture officers, fishery officers and engineers from the areas attached to Hakaluki haor also joined the workshop.

The required data would be compiled in a week for sending those to the ministry so that it could be forwarded to the authority for Ramasar proposal, sources informed.

Once included in as Ramsar sites list, various activities could be done for protecting the natural resources as well as its unique biodiversity, an official said. Besides, there would be an international recognition too.

The unique site attracts huge number of visitors round the year for its natural beauty and huge water body. A large number of migratory birds are seen around the haor during the dry season.

When listed as Ramsar site it would be a protected of international importance for the conservation and sustainable utilisation of wetlands.

It is a marsh wetland ecological system in Sylhet region and bordering Assam. It is one of Bangladesh's largest and one of Asia's larger marsh wetland resources. Over 200,000 people live in the surrounding Hakaluki Haor area.

The government in 1999 declared the Hakaluki Haor as Ecologically Critical Area (ECA). Its surface area is 181.15 square km spreading in five upazilas of Sylhet and Moulvibazar districts.

It may be stated here it has become a fast-degraded landscape in recent years and facing increased pressure and threats. The rapid degradation of the wetland ecology is causing devastating consequences on the community people living in and around the Hakaluki Haor.

For generations the inhabitants were dependent on the wetland for their livelihoods upon vital functions.

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