Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin on Saturday told Parliament that five air-polluting cement factories got environmental clearance in Mongla Port industrial areas near the Sundarbands.
Although the government declared 10-kilometer areas surrounding Sundarbans Reserve Forest as ecologically critical area, the approved factories are located only six kilometres away from the mangrove forest.
They are Meghna Cement Mills Ltd, Bashundhara Cement Mills Ltd, Mongla Cement Mills Ltd, Dubai-Bangla Cement Mills Ltd, and Holcim (Bangladesh) Ltd, the minister said.
"These air-polluting cement factories were given environment clearance certificates in Mongla port industrial areas under Bagerhat district," he told Parliament, replying to a tabled question from Bangladesh Workers Party MP Lutfun Nesa Khan (reserved seat-48).
He said the Department of Environment regularly monitors the factories and provides suggestions to their entrepreneurs so that the industrial units cannot pollute environment.
Besides, there are some industrial entities including LPG plant, but these are not environment-polluting industries, said Shahab Uddin.
Replying to another question from Awami League MP Momotaz Begom (Manikganj-2), he said Sundari tree has declined, but the number of Gewa tree has increased in the Sundarbans.
The area covered by Sundari tree was 20 percent of the Sundarbans in 1985, which came down at 18 percent in 2013, he said adding that the area covered by Gewa tree was 4.5 percent of the Sundarbans, which went up to 5.25 percent.