Natural conch shells being plundered for profit
Tons of natural conch shells are now being extracted every day from the water bodies (haor and bils) of Bagerhat and Faridpur to sell as fish feeds across the districts.
The indiscriminate extraction of these shells could lead to an ecological imbalance in these water bodies, which have been extremely rich in flora and fauna for centuries.
Along the highway between Bagerhat and Faridpur female workers and children in groups were seen crushing the huge piles of shells to separate the meat from the shells. The meat is used for feeds while the shells are grinded to produce lime for beetle leaf.
Radha Rani, a worker in the industry near Bagerhat was crushing the shells. She said she worked for her employer who paid Tk 500 to 600 for a sack-full of shells.
Radha Rani and some other women and children toiled from morning till afternoon for Taka 100 each.
“We are not to be blamed for this,” she said shyly, “Many people are engaged by the trader to extract the shells from the haor and the rainy season is the best time for it,” she said when asked about the consequences of the destruction of one vital natural component of haor.
Department of Environment sources in Khulna said that this kind of wholesale destruction will definitely have an adverse effect on the ecology of the area, which will eventually catch up with the human population and livestock.
“The conch shells play a vital role in the food chain of natural water bodies and if you remove them it will have a severe effect on the environment,” said an official of the DoE.
By Morshed Ali Khan
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