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Masterplan drafted to curb river pollution: Water resources state minister

State Minister for Water Resources Zahid Faruque today told parliament that the government has taken an initiative to formulate a masterplan for curbing river pollution across the country.

“As per the instruction of the prime minister, an initiative has been taken to formulate a masterplan in order to curb pollution of the rivers across the country,” he said in reply to a query from ruling Awami League lawmaker Moazzem Hossen Ratan from Sunamganj-1.

The masterplan includes short-, medium-, and long-term plans and will be implemented within the next ten years, said the state minister.

A draft of the masterplan has already been finalised and it aims to bring navigability, check pollution in and encroachment on the major rivers like Buriganga, Sitalakhya, Turag, and Balu in Dhaka and the Karnaphuli river in Chattogram, he said.

The junior minister said that stopping illegal encroachment and pollution have been prioritised under the masterplan.

He also said the shipping and water resources ministries have begun a joint programme to free the banks of the Karnaphuli and Buriganga rivers from illegal encroachment.

The eviction programme is already going on, he added.

64 freshwater fish species under threat

State Minister for Fisheries and Livestock M Ashraf Ali Khan Khosru today informed parliament that about 64 species of freshwater fish are under threat in the country.

Of those, nine fish species are critically endangered, while 30 are endangered and 25 are vulnerable, he said.

The junior minister came up with the statistics citing a report of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) while replying to a question by ruling Awami League MP Manjur Hossain.

He also said about 13 species of fish at Kaptai Lake in Rangamati and in Khagrachhari districts are on the verge of extinction.

“Although people’s per capita daily fish demand is 60 grammes, the country’s per capita daily fish intake stands at 62.58 grammes,” Khosru said.

Despite the self-sufficiency in fish production, businessmen are importing some fish varieties from different countries, including India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Uruguay, Thailand, China, Japan, Vietnam, Oman and United Arab Emirates (UAE), to meet the demands of the affluent section of people, the state minister added.

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