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More research needed to unlock potentials of blue economy: Planning Minister

Save our Sea, the lone organization working over the ecology of the sea in Bangladesh organized a round table at the National Press Club in Dhaka on November 11, 2021 titled, “Blue Economy: Prospects and Challenges.”

Planning Minister MA Mannan spoke as a chief guest and Professor Dr Jashim Uddin of Botanical Department of Dhaka University, Professor Dr Santosh Kumar Dev, Chairman of Tourism and Hospitality department of Dhaka University and Dr KM Azam Chowdhury, Associate Professor of the Oceanography Department of Dhaka University gave speech as special guests.

Professor Dr Muhammad Moslmem Uddin Munna, Chairman of the Oceanography Department of Chittagong University, presented the main script on the programme.

Muhammad Anowarul Haque, Secretary-General of Save Our Sea, moderated the programme.
Commodore Wahid Hasan Kutubuddin (NDC), Head of the Department of Maritime Development and Strategic Studies of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Maritime University, Dr Marium Akhter, Assistant Chief Forest Conservator of Bangladesh Forest Department, and M Nuruzzaman, Deputy Director (Operations) of Bangladesh Coast Guard were given speech as honourable guests.

Marine Explorer SM Atiqur Rahman, Director of Save Our Sea, Mohammad Ejaj, Chairman of River and Delta Research Center and Sumon Shams, President of Nongor, were present among others.

Planning Minister MA Mannan on Thursday said Bangladesh can collect more resources from the sea conducting a good number of researches on the blue economy that would help to flourish the country’s economy.

“The government is interested to assist private sector and different organizations in carrying out research works on sea and coastal areas for the development of blue economy,” Mannan said.

Planning Minister said, Sundarbans was once expanded till Coxsbazar but now it becomes smaller for keeping it unplanned and careless.

The Minister said, “We want to assure you that we are very keen to realise the matter which the Save Our Sea has shown about the blue economy and environment of the sea.”
He said, “Our Prime Minister has wide spread eagerness. She thinks almost about everything. The present government has worked many more than the past governments. Our Prime Minister wants to do more work.”

Regarding the demand of including oceanography in the textbooks, the Planning Minister said that the Prime Minister always encourages children to know about the resources of the country like the sea.

Professor Dr Muhammad Moslmem Uddin Munna said the economy of the sea would be the future economy. But there were several problems here including adequate initiatives.
Many potentials of the sea are yet to be out of touch due to a lack of know-how about the matter.

He said several initiatives have taken on the name of the blue economy but most of those conducted without preventing ecology and biodiversity.

Mohammad Moslem Uddin Munna pointed out that the future economy of Bangladesh could be maritime economy. But due to the crisis of proper initiative, the sea is still out of our reach without knowing the usage rules of the sea.

The most of the projects are currently being implemented under Blue Economy are anti-sea, he added.

Professor Dr Jashim Uddin said there are lots of prospects in the sea including tidal energy, minerals and fish.

We know the Sundarbans protects us many disasters like Sidor and Ayla. Coastal forests and coastal ecosystems need to be maintained for our need. But as much as we talk about the ocean economy, we don’t talk about the ocean and coastal ecology, he added
He has empahsised to protect the sea from plastic and other pollution.

Commodore Wahid Hasan Kutubuddin stressed on coordination on work on sea resources.

As there is no database, the speed of work is not coming. In addition, researchers do not have much logistical support to work, he said.

“We know trees give us oxygen,” said SM Atiqur Rahman, director of Save Hour Sea, Marine Explorer.

That is why we regularly plant trees on the surface. But what we don’t know is that about 70 percent of the oxygen comes from marine plants. But we are ruining to destroy ocean plants through pollution. Although we have spent crores of money to plant trees at the top, we have not taken any initiative to protect the plants at the bottom of the sea, he added.

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