Dhaka, Aug 10 (UNB) – Norway wants to help Bangladesh combat its river and plastic pollution; and explore marine resources in a “sustainable way” so that it can achieve its development goals.
“Combatting pollution is the most important thing to do,” Norwegian Ambassador to Bangladesh Sidsel Bleken, who fell in love with Bangladeshi rivers, told UNB in an interview.
Ten rivers in the world, including the Ganges, are shockingly contributing 80 to 90 percent of plastic pollution to the world's oceans.
Both Bangladeshis and Norwegians have lived by the sea and off the sea for more than a thousand years, and Norway says a clean and healthy ocean is equally important for both countries.
Ambassador Bleken who visited the Sundarbans, mighty river Padma and the rivers around Dhaka, river Turag in particular, said rivers are the “lifeline” of Bangladesh and laid emphasis on engaging with industries to deal with issues relating to river pollution.
Sharing her recent river-cruise experience, the Ambassador said still lots of things are there that need to be done when it comes to cleaning the discharged water coming from industries.
She said it is not the responsibility of the government alone as industries have a role to play in controlling river pollution. “That’s extremely important.”
Bleken who spent almost three years in Bangladesh said there is pollution which is also coming from households and gave much importance to the cleanliness of water bodies.
Norway’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Mona Juul has been elected as the President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for a one-year (2020-2021) term.
The ECOSOC president plays a key role in the UN, with responsibility for following up the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the financing for development agenda.
“We’re pleased that Bangladesh is also an ECOSOC member. We would like to work together with a number of countries so that sustainable goals are achieved,” Bleken said adding that it is a common responsibility for all the countries in the world, and Norway is very much looking forward to working with Bangladesh on that front.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on all leaders to come to New York on September 23 with concrete and realistic plans to enhance their nationally-determined contributions by 2020 on climate front.
About the upcoming Summit, she said one of the things that Bangladesh can do of course to highlights the affects and the challenges that will have on the country.
Another thing, she hoped, Bangladesh can give very good examples about Bangladesh how it has been able to adapt to the climate change. “I think you’re world leader in adaptation to climate change.”
She said it is important to have dialogue on mitigation and adaptation and; also roles and responsibilities of various countries.
The Ambassador said Bangladesh is unfortunately vulnerable to two different sources – it is vulnerable because of increase in temperature making the sea-level rise and ice melting in the Himalayas which will trench the life of rivers in Bangladesh.
She said Norway has launched huge programmes globally on combating plastic pollution and littering. “We hope to work with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; and also with United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) on reducing plastic pollution in Bangladesh.”
Responding to a question, she said they look for other opportunities and other areas where they can cooperate when it comes to reducing pollution.
The Ambassador said they would like to cooperate more with Bangladesh on management of fisheries resources.
“Norway has the most modern fishery research vessel which visited Bangladesh last year. We hope it’ll come back to Bangladesh in a year or two to make the assessment of fisheries stocks but also on the level of pollution,” Bleken said adding that Bangladesh needs to manage fisheries resources in a sustainable manner.
Kurigram, Aug 9 (UNB) – Buyers at cattle markets in the frontier district are complaining of higher prices of locally-reared cattle amid strong vigilance by Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) to stop the import of sacrificial animals from the neigbouring country.
Buyers from different parts of the country are thronging the cattle markets in the district with a hope to buy Indian cattle at lower prices but going back home having failed to manage ones.
Indian Border Security Force (BSF) imposes section 144 along the border here every evening and strengthens patrol to stop cattle smuggling from India, said Kurigram 22 BGB commanding officer Lt Col Md Jamal Hossain.
Visiting Bhurungamari cattle haat, the UNB correspondent found that the market is full of locally-reared cattle but few customers are buying those due to the higher prices.
Abdul Khaleq, Rabiul Hossain and some other buyers at the market said the prices of cattle are excessive as the wholesalers collected the cattle from farmers at high prices.
Sources at the District Livestock office said sacrificial animals are being sold at 28 cattle markets in the district as the district has got some 1,000 farms.
Besides, they said, 42,000 livestock farmers have brought sacrificial animals to the local markets.
There is a stock of 1.5 lakh sacrificial animals in the district and there will be no shortage even if cattle are not imported from India, they said.
The prices of locally-raised sacrificial animals are also reasonable, the livestock department officials said.
Farmers Abus Samad and Taijul Islam said they have to spend Tk 2,000 to 1,500 every day for braining cattle to the haat and this is how the prices are going up.
However, local farmers are happy as the border forces have kept the Indian cattle at bay.
Mamun, a wholesale cattle trader in Lalmonirhat, said, “I’ve come here with a hope to buy cattle but I couldn’t buy one due to the higher prices.”
Dr Mohamamd Abdul Hue Sarkar, district livestock officer, said, “This time cattle are not being imported from India. Over 1.5 lakh animals are there ready in the district for Eid. We hope the farmers will get fair prices this year.”
He said the farmers of the district did not use any steroid and harmful chemicals for fattening cattle.
Jashore, Aug 9 (UNB)- The minimal importof cattle, legally or otherwise, from India ahead of this year’s Eid-ul-Azha has proved a boon for local cattle farmers.
According to Navaron corridor official in Sharsha upazila, just 99 cows and five goats were imported from India legally till July 30, garnering total revenue of Tk 50,400 and it is not expected to rise much.
“On average 20-22 cattle were being imported per week, through two khatals in Goga and Putkhali,” said Anjuman Ara Begum, Customs Revenue Officer-in-Charge of Navaron customs corridor.
Cattle farmers of Putkhali and Sharsha area are apprehensive about competing with Indian cattle.
Siraj Ali, one of the cattle farmers in Putkhali village of Benapole, said this year he raised 10 cows of high quality breed for selling during the Eid-ul-Azha.
“Local farmers will face economic loss if Indian cattle start being imported in full flow,” he said.
Dr Bhabtosh Kanti Sarkar, Jashore District Livestock Officer, said 70,600 cattle were raised in 5,800 farms in eight upazilas of the district.
He also mentioned that farmers can sell their cattle in other districts after meeting the needs of the district – an estimated 63,000 cattle-heads.
Dr Sarkar further said there are active veterinary teams in all 24 cattle markets across Jashore to ensure trade of healthy animals only for Eid-ul-Azha.
“This year less animals went under the cattle fattening process,” he added.
Khulna 21 BGB Battalion chief Lieutenant Colonel Imran UllahSarkar said the patrolling has become stricter to prevent illegal cattle import from India.
Dhaka, Aug 9 (UNB) – Kurmitola General Hospital, situated at Airport Road in the city, is now under tremendous pressure of dengue patients as it has to take care of 5,000 patients at its outdoor against 1,500 before the outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease.
“It’s basically a 500-bed hospital and it’s awfully understaffed. We only have the one-third of the manpower it has in its organogram. With the dengue outbreak, we’ve to work under tremendous pressure of patients,” a senior physician at the hospital told UNB.
The physician, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it is now extremely overcrowded hospital with about 834 patients, including 354 dengue ones, against its capacity of 500. “As per my estimate, dengue patients now account for 70 percent,” he said.
According to another source at the hospital, 417 people underwent dengue tests on August 4 and 88 of them tested dengue positive. On August 5, he said, 520 people underwent dengue test and 116 of them diagnosed with dengue, showing a sharp rise in the dengue patient in 24 hours.
Lt Col ABM Belayet Hossain, assistant director (admin) at the hospital, said, “We’re admitting all the dengue patients coming to our hospital though there’s a lack of bed. We’ve to attend all of them with our existing manpower. We’re not turning down anyone.”
More importantly, Belayet Hossain said, there is no death due to dengue at their hospital. “We had admitted two child patients with serious dengue a few days back. We were worried about them. But they returned home after their full recovery.”
Another source at the hospital told UNB that they treated a total of 636 dengue patients over 10 days since July 28.
When this correspondent went to visit the hospital on Tuesday, he saw over 200 attendants of the admitted patients standing in a long queue of people to collect medicines from the dispensary of the hospital.
Sohel, 30, an attendant of a patient, told UNB that his younger brother Morshed, 20, has been undergoing dengue treatment at the hospital for five days. “As the hospital provides patients with free medicines, I’ve collected my necessary medicines for my brother showing doctor’s his prescription.”
Inside the hospital, patient beds are everywhere -- all in the open spaces -- to accommodate the overflowing patients.
Dhaka, Aug 9 (UNB) – Though the government has cancelled the Eid leave of health officials, the dengue patients undergoing treatment in city hospitals await greater hazards as there will be a lack of necessary doctors during the Eid vacation.
“Despite the cancellation of leave, the city hospitals will see the lack of doctors during the Eid vacation. They (doctors) will be in holiday mood,” said Dr Harun-or-Rashid, head of medicine department of Dhaka Community Medical College & Hospital (DCMCH).
Talking to UNB, he also said most hospitals are making special rosters and arrangements to keep their services undisturbed, but it will be very challenging to ensure the presence of physicians, especially at private ones.
“Many doctors at private hospitals may try to avoid their duties during the eid vacation to go to their home or spend time with families which will eventually put pressure on public hospitals,” Dr Harun added.
According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), 1,159 dengue cases were reported in the capital in the last 24 hours till 8am on Thursday while 5,140 dengue patients are currently hospitalised here.
Contacted, Health Minister Zahid Maleque, said, “We’re concerned about the Eid time. The Eid vacation of the officials concerned has already been cancelled and we’re monitoring the situation constantly.”
He said a cell has been opened at his ministry to monitor whether doctors are working or not during the vacation. “We’ll take instant actions in the case of any negligence.”
Assuring that there will be no shortage of doctors, nurses and other medical staff during the eid vacation, he urged all not to be panicked. “We’re working together so that people can be freed from dengue infection through proper treatment.”
Public hospital authorities said they are taking preparations to keep their services as usual and uninterrupted while those at private hospitals said they are making special eid rosters and trying to manage doctors to continue their works.
Principal of Dhaka Medical College Prof Dr Khan Abul Kalam Azad said their services will remain uninterrupted during the eid as no one of their doctors and other staff will be allowed to leave the station.
He said the city has been witnessing sporadic rains for the last few days which are only contributing to aggravating the dengue situation. “But we’re taking necessary preparations to deal with the pressure of patients during the eid.”
Dr Imrul Haque of E&T department at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) said the authorities have asked their doctors not to leave the station and remain ready to discharge duty during the eid vacation.
He said a special roster has already been made for ensuring the availability of adequate doctors on August 11-13 at the BSMMU.
However, another doctor at the BSMMU said many of their colleagues are planning to go home showing various excuses.
Dr Md Emadul Haque at Central Police Hospital in Rajarbagh said as the government has cancelled the leave of doctors and other medical staff concerned they will not face any problem in providing healthcare services to patients, including the dengue-infected ones. “We’ve already made an eid-time roster.”
He said their hospital is under tremendous pressure due to surge in dengue patents. “Though our hospital has 250-bed capacity, we’re providing treatment to over 350 indoor patients, mostly police members and their relatives due to spike in dengue cases.”
A director of a private hospital, wishing anonymity, said they are making their best efforts to convince their colleagues to perform duty during the vacation, but many of them are unwilling to do that. “They’re saying they’ve been passing a busy time for over two months due to the dengue outbreak, and they now want to give their family some time during the eid.”
Medical officer of Monowara Hospital Ltd Dr MA Hasib said their hospital is providing treatment to 20-25 dengue patients on average a day. “We think the flow of patients will continue during the eid time as well. All the doctors may not remain available during the eid, but authorities are making a special roster to deal with the situation.”
He said it looks Moghbazar, Shantinagar, Malibagh, Khilgaon Dhanmondi and Badda areas are badly affected with dengue while the Aedes mosquitos are spreading faster in newer areas.
Abdul Malek Mridha, deputy director (admin) at Dr Sirajul Islam Medical College & Hospital, said they are trying to ensure the presence of necessary doctors and nurses during the eid to cope with the pressure of dengue patients.