The Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin on Monday stressed the continuation of the country's development without destroying forests.
Development without protecting the forests would not be sustainable, he said while addressing a discussion organised by the Forest Department at its office in city's Mohakhali on the occasion of International Forest Day.
This year's theme was 'Forests and Sustainable production and Consumption'.
Shahab said, "Development work has to be carried out by protecting the forests. With that in mind, the forest department is conducting a drive to reclaim the already occupied forest lands."
"We are giving more importance than before so that forest lands are not used for other purposes," he said.
The development of Bangladesh must also be sustainable and socially justified. For this, we have to play a responsible role to prevent forest destruction. Everyone must work together to save the forest and improve the economy and quality of life, the minister said.
Emphasising the importance of forest's natural growth, Shahab said, "We have to enhance our forest and forest-centric employment for rural people. Only then will our environment be enriched, alongside socio-economic developments."
Deputy Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Begum Habibun Nahar said Bangladesh is facing various economic challenges as well as environmental challenges. The forest department has to work to protect the forest resources and prevent the killing of wild animals.
She also called for protecting the Sundarbans- the largest continuous mangrove forests in the world. "Many people are using the Sundarbans for destructive purposes and the country will suffer a great loss if any irreversible harm is done," she added.