On 11 May 2019, World Migratory Bird Day was celebrated in Dhaka, with the focus on conserving migratory birds and their habitats by reducing the plastic pollution. This year, a rally and a discussion session was organized by Bangladesh Forest Department, IUCN Bangladesh, Nature Conservation Society, Prokriti o Jibon, Zoological Society of Bangladesh and Bangladesh bird club. The guests at the event spoke on the theme of this year’s World Migratory Bird Day, “Protect Bird: Be the Solution to Plastic Pollution”.
The World Migratory Bird Day started off with the vibrant rally and later the discussion session was held in the National Press Club in the capital of the country. The year’s event aimed to increase awareness among general public on the plight of migratory birds as a result of plastic pollution. The Chief Guest of the event was Honorable Deputy Minister of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Ms. Habibun Nahar. Special guests of the event included the Secretary of MoEFCC, Mr. Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdhury, and IUCN Bangladesh County Representative Mr. Raquibul Amin. The guests at the event expressed concerns about the rising use of non-biodegradable plastic products, its pollution and effects on migratory birds. They also presented statistics about the harmful effects on birds caused by the plastic pollution, highlighting that a million birds die each year due to plastic. They also urged everyone to reduce their consumption of plastic products.
Mr. Enam Ul Haque, founder of Bangladesh birds club, said, “The world produces 300 million tonnes of plastic each year. Around one million birds die every year due to ingestion of plastic, being trapped in discarded plastic materials and through other plastic related threats every year.”
Bangladesh has been celebrating World Migratory Bird Day since 2011 and IUCN Bangladesh has been the co-organizer every year.
IUCN Bangladesh Country Representative, Mr. Raquibul Amin reiterated that understanding the ecology and migration of migratory birds through satellite telemetry will help in conservation of these birds. He said, “IUCN has launched a new programme in Bangladesh where cutting-edge tracking devices have been attached to migratory ducks to know more about their migration patterns and habitat use which will help in formulating more decisive conservation plans.”
The Deputy Minister, Ms. Habibun Nahar and the Secretary Mr. Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdhury of MoEFCC mentioned that that plastic is a major source of pollution, not only in Bangladesh but the whole world. Mr. Chowdhury also mentioned that with proper policies, awareness and governance, we can tackle the plastic pollution issue.
Finally, Ms. Nahar noted that due to plastic pollution, rivers and waterbodies are being destroyed causing wildlife to lose their habitat. “Through proper policies and mass awareness, 75 percent of the pollution can be reduced, it will be possible to decrease this pollution in the future and the government will work on this issue very seriously”, she opined.