Bangladesh as a nation is synonymous with greenery and vegetation. But despite this inextricable part of our identity, we are seeing more and more trees being felled and deforestation taking place, despite the pledge made around two years ago to put an end to deforestation by the current year.

As we get closer and closer to the deadline, it seems we are bound to miss it.

Deforestation, as we understand, is a global problem and, according to experts, the continuous loss of forest land is nothing short of a worldwide tragedy that will inevitably lead to a greater loss of climate stability. As a nation on the front-lines in the battle for climate change, it makes absolutely no sense for Bangladesh to continue to fail in preserving our forests.

Trees provide a natural defense against a host of environmental hazards, not to mention the fact that, if it wasn’t for the scant trees that are currently adorning our cities, the air quality would have been far worse than how it already is currently. It behooves us, then, to protect our forests and refrain from engaging in unchecked urbanization.

We cannot stress the importance of living up to Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, which Bangladesh signed back in 2021 under COP26, and taking genuine steps to preserving our forests. However, it is equally important that the government look into potential ways to increase green coverage in places such as our cities, especially the capital. To that end, the recent announcement of the country’s first ever urban forest in the Purbachal Residential Area is a great first step.

Bangladesh is still a developing country and as such is expected to go through vigorous urbanization in the process. But that urbanization does not have to come at the cost of our identity as a nation of greenery and of trees.

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