Sinking of another vessel
Ban all commercial cargo through Sundarbans
DESPITE the plea of environmentalists, political parties, cultural groups and the recommendations of a United Nations team and a government committee, cargo vessels continue to ply through the rivers in the Sundarbans and the latest is the sinking of one carrying 1,235 tonnes of coal in the Shela River.
This is not the first time. In 2014, an oil tanker sank in the same river spilling hundreds of thousands of gallons of furnace oil and the year before, a cargo vessel carrying 200 tonnes of fertiliser sank in the Bhola River, endangering the habitat of innumerable species many of whom are already on the verge of extinction. In the absence of any concerted government clean-up effort, the post-disaster plan had desperate, ill-equipped villagers sponging, spooning, and netting oil out of the water.
Transporting large amounts of hazardous materials through one of the most fragile and magnificent ecosystems on earth defies logic.UNESCO has even warned of possibly revoking the World Heritage Site status of the Sundarbans if this trend continues. But who cares?
We renew our call to the government to find alternative routes and put an immediate and permanent ban on the movement of all commercial vessels through the waterways of the Sundarbans.