A part of the mangrove forests of the Sundarbans may be lost in future due to the rising water levels in the Bay of Bengal as a fallout of global warming, West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee cautioned on Saturday.
"Areas in the Sundarbans like Basanti and Gosaba in our state have been affected by the rise in the water level of the Bay of Bengal due to global warming. The same fate awaits a part of Bangladesh," Bhattacharjee said at a function organised by the state Pollution Control Board on the occasion of World Environment Day.
"If this continues, a part of the Sundarbans may be lost. This danger is knocking at the door," he said.
Located in Kolkata's neighbouring North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas district, Sundarbans has a vast area covering 4,262 sq km, including a mangrove cover of 2,125 sq km, in India alone. A larger portion lies in Bangladesh.
The alluvial archipelago, a vast tract of forest and saltwater swamps formed by nearly 56 islands, is located at the lower part of the Ganges delta and has been declared a World Heritage site by Unesco for its rich biodiversity. It is home to the famed Royal Bengal Tiger.
Bhattacharjee also expressed his worries over the high pollution levels caused by the thermal power stations. With thermal power constituting 95 percent of the state's power production, the high gas emissions were posing a big problem.
"We can control the pollution caused by thermal power stations to some extent, but this is a grave problem. The faster we shift to green power, the better. But so far we have only five percent of our power requirements met by green sources like solar power and wind power," he said.
Bhattacharjee said a project to generate tidal power from river currents has been undertaken in the Sundarbans. "We are also trying to use the clean coal technology to lessen pollution. We are also using jatropha for making bio-fuel."
The chief minister said to reduce the problem of harzardous gas emissions from vehicles, the state government was making efforts to get CNG stations in the state.
"We will get CNG from Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) soon," he said.