Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday underlined the need for protecting the environment to ensure sustainable development in the country.
"For sustainable development there should be coordination with environment and development. Otherwise, development cannot be sustainable," she said at the Tree Fair and Campaign for Tree Plantation programme marking the World Environment Day at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC).
Hasina virtually joined the event from her official residence Ganobhaban.
The theme for World Environment Day this year is "Only One Earth", with focus on "living sustainably in harmony with nature".
The PM said that while going for development that everyone has to adopt the nature based solution. "This is urgently needed," she said.
She said that every development project in the country has to fulfill one condition: to plant at least five trees for each tree felled for it.
Bangladesh needs development for improving the people's lives. But the development must be fairly balanced with the nature and environment, she observed.
She mentioned her government is setting up 100 economic zones across the country to prevent indiscriminate industrialisation and preserve the arable lands.
She said these projects have provision of harvesting rain water to preserve the ground water.
The PM reiterated her call not to leave a single inch of arable land uncultivated as the world is under threat of scarcity of food grains due to Covid-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war.
"Our land is fertile and we have manpower, we have to produce our own crops, we will produce whatever we need, we will have to shun our dependency on others," she said.
She said the manpower of environment ministry has been increased to 1,133 from 265, the environment directorate office has been set up in 50 districts and gradually every district will get an office.
Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin, Deputy Minister Habibun Nahar, chairman of parliamentary affairs committee on Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry Saber Hossain Chowdhury also spoke on the occasion while its Secretary Dr Farhina Ahmed gave the address of welcome.
A video documentary on the government activities to protect the environment was also screened.
Earlier, the forest minister, on behalf of the prime minister, handed over awards including Bangabandhu Award for Wildlife Conservation and National Environment Award among the recipients.
The PM also inaugurated the National Environment Fair and National Tree Fair 2022 at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar.
The Environment, Forest and Climate Change ministry is holding a month-long 'National Tree Plantation Campaign' and a week-long 'Tree Fair 2022' across the country as part of the World Environment Day programme.
'National Tree Plantation Campaign' will be held from 5 June to 4 July while 'Tree Fair 2022' will take place from 5-11 June.
The theme of this year is 'Brikhaprane Prokriti-Protibesh, Agami Projanmer Teksai Bangladesh'.
The PM also unveiled a publication of Bangladesh Forest Research Institute (BFRI) titled Research Achievements of BFRI.