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Bangladesh: University students volunteer to eliminate plastic pollution

Department of Mass Communication and Journalism students from the University of Rajshahi in Bangladesh held volunteer service to eliminate plastic pollution in Saint Martin Island on December 9. (Photo: Supplied)

Students of the public University of Rajshahi in Bangladesh organized a cleaning operation on December 9, on the Beach of Saint Martin Island to eliminate plastic pollution.

This volunteer service was done by recently graduated Masters (26th batch) students of the University's Department of Mass Communication and Journalism on the northern beach adjacent to the island's jetty.

Altogether 16 students volunteered in this event. During the cleaning operation on the Beach of Saint Martin Island, the local children and teenagers who were walking on the beach also participated with the students with enthusiasm.

The main purpose of this event was to make tourists aware of plastic pollution and keep clean the beach and atmosphere.  

Department of Mass Communication and Journalism students conducted the program on a trip to Saint Martin Island as part of a departmental study tour. It was organized by the professor of the department Sazzad Bokul.

During the symbolic cleaning campaign, they collected 7 large bags of polluting waste including polythene bags and plastic bottles lying on the beach and floating from the sea.

Professor Sazzad Bokul said, “Saint Martin, the only coral island in Bangladesh, is a priceless gift from nature to this country. It was rich with so many species of coral and sea animals just a couple of decades ago.”

“But due to the reckless tourists littering plastic bottles and other materials harmful to the island, we have lost hundreds of coral and other species of animal”, said Professor Bokul. “That among the 141 species of corals on this island, 101 species have already been destroyed. Besides, the biodiversity of the island is under extreme threat due to plastic pollution and various types of damage to the island's environment”, said Professor.

“In this context, we organized the cleaning operation on the Beach of Saint Martin Island so that tourists and the people of the island can be aware of the importance of keeping the island pollution free,” said Professor Sazzad.

This professor expressed hope that everyone would come forward to maintain the balance of the environment.

Saint Martin has a wonderful combination of blue sea water and clear sky. This island is one of the tourist places of Bangladesh with its natural beauty.

But the country's only coral island has lost its beauty due to the garbage left by local and foreign tourists who visit every year.

The island's natural balance is under threat today due to the dumping of plastic waste and non-biodegradable garbage used by tourists.


University students, children and teenagers are collected 7 large bags of polluting waste including polythene bags and plastic bottles.

Saint Martin's Island is a small island (area only 8 sq. km) in the northeastern part of the Bay of Bengal, about 9 km south of the tip of the Cox's Bazar-Teknaf peninsula, and forming the southernmost part of Bangladesh.

There is a small adjoining island that is separated at high tide, called Chhera Island. It is about 8 km west of the northwest coast of Myanmar, at the mouth of the Naf River. During British occupation the island was named Saint Martin.

The local name of the island is "Narical Gingira", also spelt "Narikel Jinjira/Jinjera", which means 'Coconut Island' in Bengali, and "Daruchini Dip".

Saint Martin's Island has become a popular tourist spot and it is the only coral island in Bangladesh. - Nikhil Gomes


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