Published:  12:00 AM, 21 August 2016

Farakka’s polluted water affects biodiversity

Former Environment Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud has expressed concern over the inflow of polluted industrial waste spilling through Farakka Barrage into the Ganges-Padma River, which is likely to cause bad impact on biodiversity in downstream Bangladesh.

The monsoon deluge in the catchment of Ganges basin causes extra flow of rain water into the Padma from India. Dr Mahmud also Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Environment was speaking as the chief guest at a seminar on Climate Issues in COP 22 and Islamabad SAARC Summit jointly organized by Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA), Christian Aid, Campaign for Sustainable Rural Live-lihood, Oxfam Banglad-esh, COAST and Equity BD. The seminar was presided over by Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman, Chairpe-rson of PKSF.

Others speaking on the occasion were: Dr Atique Rahman, Sanjoy Vahsist , Director of CANSA, Dr Sharmind Neelormi of Jahangirnagar University, while the event was moderated by Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of COAST.The Ganges River carries industrial wastes and tons of ashes and garbage of cremation of humans. During monsoon the flood gates of Farakka Barrage remains wide open to reduce water load in the project area.

The speakers said water negotiation is directly related to coping with climate change and natural disaster. It was suggested that inter-linking of international rivers should be based on South-South cooperation. The Brahmaputra and the Ganges basins flow into Bengal Delta from China and India, which needs a political approach for regional cooperation.Citing example of Mekong River Commi-ssion, the speakers have said six countries are working together. From China to Vietnam, the Mekong River is the lifeblood of Southeast Asia flows through China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

In a keynote address by Mujibul Haque Munir of EquityBD presented the grim picture of Green Climate Fund disbursement, while 90 percent of pledge have been met, then Least Developing Countries (LDC) and country like Bangladesh has got direct access only to 2 percent of the fund because of difficult procedures, most of the fund around 80 percent has been disbursed through multinational institutions, even through international bank like HSBC.
The government is yet to draft National Implementing Entities (NIE) to receive climate funds to build resilience and adapt to climate change, lamented Neelormi.

Oxfam Bangladesh Program Director Badi Akhter said a method should be evolved to calculate loss and damage from effects of climate change and disasters.The loss and damage calculation should also include loss of social capital and cultural capital, he said.The victims of multiple shifting from coastal region, along the river-bank erosion and chars loose confidence of rehabilitation, which also have impacts of climate change, Akhter added.

Sanjay Vahsist has said there is a need of strong civil society mobilization in SAARC countries especially in India to go for regional-level water management and management of climate induced displacement.

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