Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday (Jun 5) directed the authorities concerned to go for nature-based solution to achieve sustainable development keeping the environment protected.
"The development would never be sustainable unless we do it coordinating with environment. So, we have to go for nature-based solution keeping it in mind," she said.
The premier said this while addressing a function at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) on World Environment Day and Environment Fair-2022 coinciding with "National Tree Plantation Campaign" and "Tree Fair 2022".
This year's theme of World Environment Day is "Only One Earth", with focusing on "living sustainably in harmony with nature".
The premier joined the "National Tree Plantation Campaign" and "Tree Fair 2022" virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban, local media reported.
Sheikh Hasina said the country should go for development but, it will have to be done following nature-based solution policy. "This is urgently needed," she added.
She said the government has clear instruction that if any tree is needed to be cut for any development project, then five times more trees have to be planted.
"We have to do our development. Our population is increasing and people of Bangladesh should get developed life and they need to lead their lives without any hassle. And we have to ensure it," she said.
So, for development, if any tree is cut down, five times more trees have to be planted to protect the environment, she reiterated.
"We always take our plans this way," the premier continued.
In this connection, she said for preserving arable lands, the government is setting up 100 economic zones across the country to prevent indiscriminate establishment of mills and factories.
The PM said that there should be a rainwater harvesting system in these projects to preserve the groundwater for the sake of environment.
She reiterated her call not to spare single inch of arable land uncultivated as the world is under threat of scarcity of food grains due to the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war.
She added: "Our land is fertile and we have manpower. We have to produce our own crops. We produce whatever we needs. We will have to shun our dependency on others."
Regarding the manpower of the Environment Ministry, she mentioned that the manpower has increased to 1,133 from 265, while the offices of the environment directorate have been set up in 50 districts and gradually every district will get its office.
Sheikh Hasina also underscored the need for tree plantation and afforestation to keep the nature, environment and ecology of the country protected as well as ensuring improved and beautiful life of the future generations in the deltaic Bangladesh.
To this end, she called upon all to plant tree saplings to create green afforestation to maintain a healthy and safe environment for future generations in the country.
She mentioned that her party Awami League began tree plantation programme in 1984-85 period, when there was no discussion on environment issue in the world.
She added that as part of the programme, the Awami League along with its associate bodies begins tree plantation campaign on the first day of Bangla month Asharh every year to create forest in the country.
The PM said it is the Awami League government that keeps necessary provisions for tree plantation in the implementation of various development projects and accordingly maintain such provisions strictly.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has no role in global greenhouse effect, but the country is the worst victim of the climate change.
She said her government undertook "Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan" in 2009, while Bangladesh is the first country to form Climate Fund on its own resources to face the adverse impact of the climate change.
The head of the government said the works of National Adaptation Plan on formulating Adaptation Strategy will be completed by the end of this month.
She referred to 100 canals reopened in the Sundarbans region and asked concerned officials to reclaim the remaining canals soon.
Later, the premier planted three saplings – "Jam", "Palash", "Neem" on Ganabhaban premise.
Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin, Deputy Minister Habibun Nahar, and Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry Saber Hossain Chowdhury also spoke on the occasion while its Secretary Dr Farhina Ahmed gave the address of welcome.
A video documentary on the government activities to protect the environment was also screened.
Earlier, the forest minister, on behalf of the prime minister, handed over various awards including Bangabandhu Award for Wildlife Conservation and National Environment Award among the recipients.
The PM also inaugurated the National Environment Fair and National Tree Fair 2022 at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar.
Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry is conducting the month-long "National Tree Plantation Campaign" and organising the week-long "Tree Fair 2022" across the country marking the World Environment Day.
"National Tree Plantation Campaign" will be held from Jun 5 to Jul 4 while "Tree Fair 2022" will take place from Jun 5-11.
The PM also unveiled the cover of a publication of Bangladesh Forest Research Institute (BFRI) titled 'Research Achievement of BFRI.'