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As humans away, other creatures stage comeback
When humans are staying home in fear of contacting the coronavirus, other creatures of Mother Nature have staged a comeback to the world’s longest sea beach at Cox’s Bazar. A calm and placid ambience now prevails in the most frequently visited beach of the country, as the local authorities have imposed a ban on people’s movement.

Local habitants living adjacent to or far away from the sea beach are happy to hear the sound of waves dashing against the sandy beach.

As the beach is empty, marine creatures are playing in the lap of nature.

Legions of red crabs are crawling on the sandy beach of Cox’s Bazar, stretching from Nazira Tech Point to Teknaf, without any fear.

Along with these colourful marine creatures, other brackish species, including snails and oysters, have also made their trails on the wet beach along the sea line, once frequented by humans.

Even dolphins, which could hardly be seen earlier, are now playing at the the Kolatoli point of the sea beach.

Bhutto Khan, standing with two other regular surfers on the beach, said: “Suddenly, the dolphins have come very close to the beach, and we are playing with them. We did not see this in the past.”

Mahbub Rahman, an environment activist, regularly visits the beach with his surfing boat and cleans floating plastics and other harmful elements that tend to destroy the sea water.

“I first saw a pool of dolphins and played with them. Various marine species and creatures have now come out in the open space as people are absent. Engine-run vessels ply indiscriminately near the beach. If these are stopped, dolphins will come closer to the sea line,” he said.

Apart from red crabs and dolphins, the sea beach now abounds in sea creepers with blooming blossoms of varied colours.

Kabir Ahmed, an oyster seller at the Laboni point of the beach, has been running his business for 25 years. “I saw sea oysters, snails, red crabs, and sea creepers some 15-20 years back. I thought these had become extinct. But I am very happy to see them again,” he said.

The biodiversity of this area can be rejuvenated if the movement of people is curtailed, he added.

Biswajit Sen Banchu, a local green activist, said: “We need to build up some environment-friendly places here to protect the biodiversity of this area. Sea creepers prevent soil erosion and dry sand. Sand dunes are considered as protector of the sea because they minimise coastal erosion during natural calamities like storms. As people are not visiting in multitudes, the sea beach has got back its natural life, which is a positive development.”

“General people, including tourists, use this sea beach without caring for it. So, nature and biodiversity are at risk here. Now the situation has changed because of the coronavirus. But we will lose it again once people move here again indiscriminately,” said ‘Save the Nature’ chairman Moazzem Riyad.

Environmental scientist Dr Ansarul Karim said: “I was born here. Cox’s Bazar has changed a lot from the earlier days. Nature has been damaged here as population is increasing. But we should take lessons now in this situation. If people follow the laws of nature, biodiversity will be protected and people will ultimately benefit in various ways. including protection from natural calamities.”

Cox’s Bazar Development Authority Chairman Lt Col (retd) Forkan Ahmed said: “We have undertaken a number of initiatives for the protection of the environment here. We have set up a number of environment-friendly and eye-catching facilities at some points. Besides, we are working for the protection of the environment and biodiversity.”