International Biodiversity Day: Preserving biodiversity means sustaining our existence in this world
Dr. Muhammad Mahtab Hossain Mazed
Today is International Biodiversity Day 2023.The day is important in raising awareness and action on biodiversity in the global context. At the end of 1993, December 29 was set, but due to government shutdown in many countries of the world at that time, the United Nations General Assembly rescheduled May 22 as International Biodiversity Day in 2000. Basically; The day of the Biodiversity Convention held in Nairobi on May 22, 1992 was selected as the International Day. After independence in 1974, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman enacted the Pollution Control Cell and Wildlife Conservation Act to protect biodiversity and environmental balance.
Following this, Bangladesh signed the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) on May 22, 1992 in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Then on June 5, 1992, CBD was opened for signature by various countries at the United Nations Environment Program Framework Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. About 168 countries around the world signed the CBD agreement within the stipulated time and CBD came into effect on December 29 of that year. At present, the number of countries that have signed this agreement is 195. There are numerous organisms on earth, the combination of all organisms is biodiversity, and humans are not excluded. However, the relationship between biodiversity and rural occupations and their employment is very deep.
Biodiversity is the foundation of life and nature. Biodiversity is closely related to all areas of economic prosperity, including people, employment and sustainable development, such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism. Preventing biodiversity loss means investing in protecting people's livelihoods and living well.
> What is biodiversity?
In the natural environment, the ecosystem that is formed based on the mutual relationship of plants, animals and microscopic organisms, the collection or assembly of countless types of living species in that ecosystem is called biodiversityAnd the abundance of species in all sources, including terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and the ecological structure of these ecosystems, is called biodiversity or biodiversity. It is the collection of genes, species, ecosystems and ecological phenomena found on Earth (or a region).
Biodiversity balances ecosystems and makes the Earth habitable. It is necessary for the sustainability of biotic species. Biodiversity is used to provide clean air and water in areas such as industry, fisheries, animal husbandry, forestry, pharmacy and agriculture. High biodiversity contributes to economic gains and the development of agriculture, technology and science.
> Biodiversity Nomenclature and Etymology: The term 'biological diversity' was first used in 1968 by wildlife scientist and conservationist Raymond F. Dasman.
The term 'biodiversity' was first used by WG Rosen in 1985 and later by entomologist EO Wilson in 1988.
> Plant diversity: It is indicated to provide fresh air, prevent erosion, add organic matter to the soil structure and rest the soil. It sustains the important activities of biotic species in the ecosystem. The specific biodiversity species of our country include juniper, poplar, pine, oak, acorn etc. Banja, Stump, Clover, Mountain Ash, Mlengelly, Hawthorn, Ahlat, Glevez, Angustifolia, Hedgehog, Taflan and Akur etc. provide benefits in the medical field.
> Animal diversity: Unfortunately, they are used as guinea pigs for hunting, livestock and transportation, as well as for clothing and medicine. There are also species that provide pollination to plants to maintain diversity and decompose organic matter into the soil. Cattle, cows, goats, sheep etc. The species is used in animal husbandry. Species of specific biodiversity of our country include sea bream, trout, snow etc. Species fishing is also beneficial.
> Ecosystem diversity: It provides essential support systems for living communities. With the emergence of critical interdependence, the fundamentals of sustainable development approaches emerge. Each species has particular importance in the provision of ecosystem services.
> Biodiversity is examined in three categories:-
1.Genetic diversity: Genetic differences are measured in subspecies, varieties, populations or species. Usually it is different genes of different species. It refers to the genetic information that individuals possess.
2. Diversity of species: It refers to the difference and number of different species of the entire world in a particular region or region.
3. Ecosystem Diversity: All interacting organisms and their environment. Food chains and energy flows such as cycles and climate, fire etc. It covers all abiotic components preserving vitality. As a result, species, species communities, community characteristics and processes are preserved.
And our staple food comes from plants. We need 90% of calories; We get these from 80 kinds of plants. Besides, we get many other foods from plants including fruits, nuts, mushrooms, honey, spices. Currently, about 80% of the world's population depends on plants as a primary source of medicine. About 30 percent of the drugs in the market are derived from plants and animals. Medicinal plants play an important role in the treatment of many diseases including cancer, painkillers, blood pressure, malaria. In addition, there are still many plants and animals in tropical forests or oceans whose benefits or uses we do not know. More than 500 plants are found in Bangladesh, which have medicinal properties. Many species were naturally found in scrub or forest; But not available now. Apart from medicinal plants, we depend on forests or plants for building houses, furniture and fuel. Apart from its direct contribution, biodiversity is closely related to the religious and cultural activities of many ethnic groups. Nature and biodiversity provide us peace, joy, beauty and food for thought in addition to relaxation.
Biodiversity also plays an important role in the proper role of environment and habitat in the ecosystem, as related to the presence and abundance of bees, butterflies, birds and bats for pollination of many flowering plants. Forest plants act as cleaners for our air and water. Carbon dioxide, the main global warming gas, helps cool our climate by being absorbed by plants. Apart from this, the abundance of biodiversity can be maintained in the naturally developed forest areas with the combination of many species. These abundant biomes play an important role in our economic, social and cultural values. The livelihood of about 10 lakh people depends on the only Sundarbans of Bangladesh. Moreover, various tribal communities directly depend on the flora and fauna of the forest for their livelihood.
Due to its geographical location, Bangladesh was once rich in biodiversity. According to the statistics, about 5 thousand 700 flowering plants, 276 species of freshwater fish, 442 species of marine fish, 22 species of amphibians, 109 species of reptiles, 388 species of native birds and 110 species of mammals existed in Bangladesh. But unfortunately rapid population growth, environmentally destructive development activities, deforestation, over-extraction of natural resources, habitat destruction, invasion of invasive species etc. are playing a major role in reducing the biodiversity of our country. Bangladesh was also rich in agricultural diversity. According to agronomists, there were about 15,000 varieties of rice in Bangladesh at one time. We have lost many of those varieties of rice with different tastes and varieties while cultivating high-yielding rice (Eri, hybrids etc.) to meet the food needs of a large population. Due to the application of chemical fertilizers and pesticides while cultivating these high-yielding varieties of rice, various phytoplanktons and zooplanktons have also been lost in the wetlands, including fish.
There are 266 species of plants, 300 species of birds, 50 species of reptiles, 8 species of amphibians, 177 species of fish, 24 species of shrimps, 7 species of crabs, 16 species of snails and mussels, 3 species of turtles and 50 species of mammals in the Sundarbans of Bangladesh. We believe this number will increase if the survey is done properly. However, there are concerns that 2 species of amphibians, 14 species of reptiles, 25 species of birds and 5 species of mammals in the Sundarbans are threatened and on the verge of extinction due to various factors such as cyclones, increasing salinity, rising sea levels due to climate change and over-exploitation.
> Importance of biodiversity
To build a society, people of different professions are needed, who sustain the society by their own work. Likewise, biodiversity is essential for the sustainable survival of an ecosystem, where each species plays its own role. The reasons for which biodiversity is needed are—
° Economic Value: Humans are directly dependent on nature for their food, clothing, shelter, medicine etc. Humans are able to meet their needs from nature only because of biodiversity.
° Aesthetic value: Different species of organisms make nature diverse and beautiful. Every year many people travel to mountains, beaches, forests, national parks etc. to enjoy the wonderful beauty of nature.
° Moral value: Every living being has the right to live in this world. This line of thinking was recognized in the United Nations Declaration on World Nature in 1982. Therefore, it is the duty of man to keep every species of living being alive on this earth.
° Protection of the environment: All organisms are ecologically dependent on each other. Extinction of one organism may lead to endangerment of another organism. So the main condition for human survival in this world is to keep this biodiversity alive.
° Spiritual and Cultural Value: Various scriptures mention the spiritual and cultural importance of plants and animals. In Hinduism there is provision for worshiping various plants like Tulsi, Bot, Ashwattha etc. Many of the Hindu gods and goddesses are vehicles of wild animals. Killing those animals is forbidden in religion. Other religions of the world also talk about non-violence towards living beings. Therefore, biodiversity has a special role in protecting the spiritual and cultural consciousness of people. Three sides of the earth are surrounded by water. The total area of oceans on Earth is 361 million square kilometers. It plays an important role in the life cycle of the earth. Seventy percent of the amount of pure oxygen mixed into the air by plants every year on this planet comes from marine plants. The sea is the source of aquatic resources for humans.
The water of the sea floats in the air and becomes a cloud of God's mercy and falls as rain. Every grain of sand in the world gets wet and gets a new life. Every plant in nature blossoms and bears fruit. Crop fields become green. Another name for water is life. Almighty Allah says, "I have created every human being from water" (Surah Ambiya: 30). Today, the sea, which is the source of water, is subject to pollution in many ways. All types of waste and nuclear tests end up on land, seas and oceans. According to a survey, about 20 billion tons of waste and various types of garbage are thrown into the sea every year.
These include refined and crude oil and toxic chemicals extracted from ships and tankers. Nerve gas, large and medium-sized jute, paper, wood, textile, fertilizer, plastic, tannery, food and beverage, sugar, tobacco, and radioactive wastes from alcohol industries are being released into the sea directly and discharged from the soil. The marine environment has become toxic due to the constant dumping of these toxic wastes and chemicals into the sea. In this, the existence of various marine species of plants, animals and fish is going to be a disaster. At the same time, the existence of various species of animals is endangered due to the effect of toxic air from the sea. So, we have to pay careful attention to that. Environmental pollution, marine pollution is not desirable in any way.
Meanwhile, sea fish has many benefits, there are necessary materials for humans. According to doctors and medical scientists, the ingredients in fish work to keep the human heart functioning and protected. Harvard School of Public Health researchers. Darius Mozaffarian said, if someone regularly eats moderate fish, his risk of heart disease is greatly reduced. The results of 30 large studies conducted around the world showed that those who ate fish at least once or twice a week had an average 36 percent lower risk of heart disease. Allah Almighty says, And He is the One who has appointed the sea so that you may eat fresh (fish) meat from it and extract from it the ornaments that you wear. And you will see in it a ship moving through the water, and that you may seek His grace and that you may give thanks' (Surah Nahl, verse 14)Finally, I will say that we can save the environment and save the biodiversity, learn about environmental protection and try to protect the environment only then we will be able to live in a beautiful strong healthy body.
In order to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as well as all development ministries and agencies should include specific financial resources in the budget to prioritize biodiversity and environment conservation and restoration activities. Biodiversity and nature conservation must ensure a sustainable future for present and future generations. Only the concerted and strong efforts of all of our generation can ensure sustainable development while keeping the environment intact and prosperous. We will be able to sustain this landscape only by restoring the lost nature and environment. Therefore, environment restoration is the only commitment of today's generation. Environment will be in our favor. A well-organized society will create a vibrant and fascinating environment. Therefore, it is important to protect biodiversity to build an environment-friendly, livable world. That's why everyone should be responsible.
Author, Founder, Jatiya Rogi Kallyan Society.