Business people are now anxious over the recent erosion of Kuakata's sea beach, caused by tidal surges.
The beach has been eroding over the past two decades and around one kilometre has been swallowed up by the sea gorge – with heavy tidal surges hitting the shore during monsoons, according to Kuakata municipality.
If the erosion continues this way, the beach will disappear within the next decade, local people said.
Owners of hotels, restaurants and other businesses are very concerned about the erosion as their businesses solely depend on the beach and its surrounding natural beauties.
"We have invested a large amount of money centering on the beach. If the beach is continuously eroding, the number of tourists will decrease," said Mohammad Al-Amin, manager of Shikdar Resort, a hotel at the beach.
"I am very nervous seeing erosion that has come very close to my restaurant," said Kolim, a restaurant owner.
"The beach had a large coconut garden a decade ago, where visitors could take shelter during scorching heat. However, it went into the sea due to erosion," said Tapu, a ward councillor of Kuakata municipality.
The 18.5-kilometre long beach used to be shrouded with coconut, palm and mangrove forests. However, most of them were washed away by the sea, he added.
"We formed human chains at different times, demanding steps to protect the beach, but no effective action has been taken yet," said the councillor.
"We tried to protect the 1.56-kilometre area of the beach by piling sandbags along the shore last year. It was a temporary measure to protect the beach," said Oliuzzaman, executive engineer at the Water Development Board in Patuakhali.
"We are trying to protect three kilometres from the zero point where most tourists visit," he said adding that a study has been conducted to protect the whole beach area permanently. Its report has been submitted to the ministry concerned.
"I am working to develop the sea beach following the style and structures of Denmark's sea beaches. A project has been prepared and sent to the planning ministry for its approval," said Zahid Farook Shamim, state minister for the water resources ministry.
He continued that he has been monitoring the situation of the beach and will start the protection work after the novel coronavirus situation improves.