Gazalia and Faitong unions, rowangchhari, Thanchi, Uzzil Dam, Panchagarh Sadar, Debiganj, Dahuk, Korotoa, Bhersa, Talma, and Chaowai are getting destroyed by stone excavation. There are ample evidence that 5 million cubic feet of stones were illegally removed, in addition to a total of 1.8 million cubic feet of stones extracted within 1 year. Stones on the beds of water sources in hilly regions certainly act as a barrier that helps water bodies to retain water, when the stones are removed, gradually seeps water through and dries out a water body.
This environmental issue is not so recent because it has been a problem for people in this area for a while now. Only Panchagarh faces a loss of 5,000 tons of crops per year from all of those districts due to illegal stone excavations. Per day, 10 trucks of stones leave Lama Upazila. It takes between 10-12 years for the soil to recover again. The machines are capable of digging from 100-200 m under the earth.
The unauthorised use of drilling and dredging equipment to illegally excavate stones, the local government claims, is becoming a threat to the climate. Certain steps have been taken by the government which includes the ban on mining of stones in seven Bandarban upazilas, the High Court bench took action. In a speech seven months ago, a police officer revealed, after taking over as UNO, he handed down nearly thirty stone thieves from different jails.
More information was taken that last year they were able to catch or kill 169 machines, 24 drums, and 20,000 75-foot-long ring pipes. In various illegal extraction areas, periodic drives are carried out by a task force led by the Companiganj upazila administration. After analyzing this situation, the government took put in some effort to teach and bring awareness on how to behave ethically towards nature.
Every county and every human has to participate and ensure equal effort so that the environment and every component can be preserved. It is the responsibility of all people, corporations, and states to maintain the ecological process. The government became rather concerned to see its people destroying nature intentionally by the stone excavation in many areas rather than preserving it. The principle of Sustainability shows us that balanced needs to be within the people and between the environment and human beings to conserve our resources for our future generation.
The investigation has shown that a large proportion of the money earned from stone digs, worth roughly Tk18-20 lakh, goes straight into the hands of the police. This company is closely related to several corrupt police officers, directly and indirectly to influential local figures, including several local leaders; the police, elected officials, political leaders, private and public officials, and so on. Some dredger owners said they had to pay Tk8, 000-10,000 per day.
The reason behind these consequences is we human beings are not acting ethically towards our nature. The world should benefit from our actions. But the situation reveals that we only think about the economy, not the environment. Which is also one of the many reasons why there are no legal actions taken against the perpetrator. The balance between economic growth and environmental protection should be maintained.
Afia Anjum Anika, is a student at the North South University
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.