Integrated policy can improve coastal people's conditions

By Gazi Anowar , 2017-08-24 12:31:37

Gazi Anowarul Hoque :
Thirty-five million littoral people remain socio-economically neglected despite presence of huge development opportunities at coastal belt. The inter-ministerial integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) policy only can improve their conditions, experts say. 
Many countries in the world, including all our neighbours, have adopted ICZM as an approach for coastal development. Natural conservation and development activities took away distress of the coastal people of those people. But Bangladesh has not yet addressed to it, they said. Sources said that the coast is prone to natural disasters. Poverty of coastal zone people is relatively high, 52 per cent of them are poor and 24 per cent are shard-core poor. They struggle with tidal fluctuations, salinity, cyclone and hurricane. Besides, erosion, arsenic, water logging, and various forms of pollution have made coastal people's lives miserable. 
To the contrary, the coastal zone contains distinctive development opportunities that can be instrumental in improving the condition of the poverty stricken coastal people. The zone has diversity of natural resources like marine fisheries, shrimp, livestock, forest, salt, beach minerals, onshore and off shore natural gas, they said.  
Dr Anisuzzaman Khan, Chairman of World biodiversity said, huge natural resources at coastal zone give us ample opportunities to make the area  not only economically developed, but also attractive by conserving the nature to the tourists round the world. By that, it is possible to earn huge foreign exchange. 
But the government has not yet taken any especial initiative to educate coastal people. Uneducated people do harm to nature. Many marine species like dolphin and sea turtle are on the verge to disappear.   Bangladesh faces catastrophe repeatedly due to environmental abuses, he opined. 
Professor Dr ASM Maksud Kamal, Chairman of Department of Disaster Science and Management, Dhaka University told The New Nation on Tuesday that ocean and river bank could contribute to GDP. "There are huge potentials. If we can develop infrastructures like seaports, land ports, industrial complexes and tourism sites, wind and solar energies in those areas, coastal people would be the key instrument for economic development. For this integrated coastal zone management is a must," he opined.

(This article was published in the daily New Naon on 04th-Aug-2016 )

The writer is a Marine Conservationist based in Bangladesh. He can be reached at