Arable land in Bangladesh down nearly 50pc in 47 years

Arable land in Bangladesh down nearly 50pc in 47 years

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Dhaka, Sept 19 – Nearly 50pc  of Bangladesh’s arable lands have disappeared because of unplanned housing, indiscriminate construction of industrial units, brick kilns, construction of roads, school-colleges and other infrastructure development works. A total of 2.17 crore acres of arable land were in the country in 1971, which stood 1.12 crore acres in 2012, according to land record and survey department.
However, about 1.12 crore acres of arable land of the total 2.17 crore acres have disappeared in the last 41 years in the country, experts said.
Besides, the nation has produced about 17.2 billion pieces of bricks burning 240 million tonnes of coal in every year.
Against this backdrop, urban development journalist forum yesterday organized a seminar on ‘concrete blocks are alternative to burn brick’ held at the city’s CIRDAP auditorium.
Among others, Housing and Public Works Minister Engineer Mosharraf Hossain, Bangladesh Redinix Concrete Association president Abdul Awal, town planners Niaz Rahman and Adilur Rahman also spoke at the seminar.
“It is needed to use concrete blocks as an alternative to burnt bricks for sustainable development. Don’t construct roads with brick or brickbats because it is not sustainable for a long time,” Engineer Mosharraf Hossain said.
He suggested to shut down the brick kilns before the introduction of concrete blocks.
The minister said many countries like China, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia are now using concrete blocks instead of bricks to construct buildings.
The speakers also demanded of the government to stop the use of bricks by 2020 in every divisional city including the capital city of Dhaka during construction of buildings.
Referring land record and survey department data, the speakers said, there were 2.17 crore acres of arable land in 1971, while the department of agricultural extension’s data it was two crore 38 thousand acres of arable land in 1984 across the country.
The arable lands stood 1.74 crore acres in 1997 and finally it stood one crore and 54 thousand in 2012 due to unplanned urbanization and brick kilns on arable lands, the speakers said.
The speakers also demanded of the government to reduce pressure on arable lands for the sake of food security.
According to the Bangladesh House Building Research Institute, about 17.2 billion pieces of bricks are so far been produced in the country annually. At least 240 million tonnes of coal have to burn to produce these bricks, the speakers said, adding that about 9.8 million tonnes carbon dioxide so far been emitted from brick kilns annually which 23 per cent carbon emission of the country’s total carbon dioxide emission.
The speakers suggested that if brick kilns are shutdown it would help arable lands from disappearing.
The authority concerned should encourage to produce blocks from river’s dredge materials, which environmental friendly and would help to preserve the country’s limited arable lands. – Staff Reporter

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