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CONCLUSIONS The 2017 Rohingya influx has had major impacts on the environment of Cox’s Bazar District that require the implementation of a mitigation programme and offsets to prevent the environment from significant degradation. Significant adverse impacts on various environmental components have been caused both by the direct footprint of the Rohingya camps and by increased anthropogenic pressure far beyond the boundaries of the area of the camps. If the environmental impacts of the influx continue unmitigated, the already heavily degraded protected ecosystems will soon suffer significant conversion and degradation, substantially reducing the habitat’s ability to maintain viable populations of its native species and losing its ability to sustain its ecosystem. The disturbed landscape will have reduced water retention capacity which may impact ground and surface water in the area. The GoB strategy is to group the Rohingya in a set of large camps (in the Kutupalong and Balukhali area) and relocate part of the Rohingya to Bhashan Char72, rather than deal with a multitude of small camps located across the Teknaf and Ukhia upazilas. This strategy appears feasible from the management point of view, but it will be a major challenge to sustain the operation of large camps located in the vicinity of environmentally sensitive areas which have limited water and forest resources. The best option to avoid the environmental impacts of the influx would be a relocation of the makeshift camp to a less environmentally sensitive area and a disintegration of the mega camps into smaller units settled at some distance from protected areas and critical habitats. This however is not likely to be a feasible solution in current conditions. The proposed mitigation addresses two key bottlenecks that threaten the very existence of the makeshift camps: access to potable water and fuel for cooking. Both issues can be resolved if proper alternatives prove to be feasible in the short term (one to three months). Sanitation, indoor air quality, terrain stability, solid waste and fecal waste management are all major risks to human health in the camps. These issues can be addressed by better planning, resettling and improvement of minimal living standards.

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Profile for Zilla Haider

Report on ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF ROHINGYA INFLUX  

This study was initiated by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the Government of Bangladesh (GoB), and UNDP and UN Women, with...

Report on ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF ROHINGYA INFLUX  

This study was initiated by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the Government of Bangladesh (GoB), and UNDP and UN Women, with...

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