Waves of waste wash up on Cox’s Bazar beach

The stretch of waste on the beach was found from Kolatoli’s Valley Hatchery point to Darianagar point of Himchori

Gigantic masses of trash have washed up on Cox’s Bazar beach, surprisingly at a time when the country’s prime tourist destination remains closed for over three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The garbage, which reportedly washed up along with the waves from Saturday night till the end of Sunday, contained various kinds of waste such as plastic, electronic, nylon fishing nets, and empty liquor bottles.

The stretch of waste on the beach was found from Kolatoli’s Valley Hatchery point to Darianagar point of Himchori. A number of marine wildlife, both dead and alive, were also found entangled with the garbage on the beach.

Environmentalists and locals have expressed fear that the garbage might cause great damage to the environment if not removed quickly from the beach.

“I saw the garbage after I came to the beach for a walk. It had covered almost a one kilometre stretch of the beach. There was no condition to walk on the beach and a strong stench was coming from the waste. I think some unscrupulous hotel owners had dumped the garbage into the sea hoping it would go away,” Rashed Ripon, a resident of Kolatoli area, said while talking to Dhaka Tribune.

ANM Moazzam Hossain, chairman of environment conservation organisation Save the Nature, said: “I have visited the site after hearing the news. We do not know how the waste ended up on the beach, but this garbage might cause an environmental disaster and harm marine life and their ecosystem if not removed quickly.”

Cox’s Bazar Environmental Journalists Forum President Deepak Sharma Dipu accused hotel-motel owners in the Kolatoli area of dumping their wastes directly into the sea, and taking the advantage of the near-empty tourist town to dump more waste.

He also demanded finding out those responsible for dumping and bringing them to justice.

Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Md Nazmul Huda, deputy director at the Department of Environment in Cox’s Bazar, said: “I have visited the site where the garbage had washed up. Several dead sea turtles were also found entangled with the waste on the beach. I suspect that this garbage was disposed from fishing trawlers, and if so then the garbage will naturally come towards the shore. A clean-up program will be launched from Monday to remove the waste.”

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Similarly, Cox’s Bazar Deputy Commissioner Kamal Hossain said that district administration will investigate the origin of the waste and steps are being taken to remove the garbage from the sea.