The Patuakhali municipality has launched a tree planting programme in order to beautify the town as well as to make the town habitable for birds.
Under the programme, the municipality will plant more than five thousand fruit, medicinal and beautifying trees in road medians and around lakes and water bodies in the town.
Mohiuddin Ahmed, the town mayor, inaugurated the programme recently by planting saplings on a road median in front of the town's old jailhouse.
Along with other local species of trees, some foreign plants such as Nakachua from Thailand and cherry from India have so far been planted to beautify a four-kilometre stretch of the median, stretching from Government Women's College to Jainkathi embankment.
Different trees including mango, kalo jaam, jackfruit, litchi, coconut, banyan, jalpai (Ceylon olive), amalaki (Indian gooseberry), tamarind, kamranga (star fruit or carambola), dewa (monkey jackfruit), neem, mahogany and chambal are also being planted on unused and vacant land surrounding ponds and water bodies in the town.
Jahangir Sikder, general secretary of Patuakhali Diabetic Association, said the townspeople used to enjoy chirping of different birds as Patuakhali town was full of large trees.
Over time, those trees have been chopped down and the number of birds declined after they lost their habitat. The planting of trees by the municipality is a laudable initiative that will help increase bird population again, he also said.
Lincon Bayen, coordinator of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, Barisal division, said birds play a vital role in maintaining environmental balance. Loss of food and habitat have put many species of birds on the verge of extinction, but people running after life in the fast lane have been ignoring this aspect of the environment.
Under the circumstances, the initiative taken by the municipality can set an example for all, he added.
Patuakhali Municipality Executive Engineer Jasim Uddin Arju said they have undertaken the tree planting programme considering the loss of food and habitat of many birds due to rapid urbanisation and destruction of the environment.
He also said that a total of around five thousand trees are being planted so the birds can nest in the trees while they can feed on the fruits of the trees.
When reached for his comment over this initiative, Mayor Mohiuddin Ahmed told this correspondent that the greenery and fruit trees in the town will not only provide food and shelter to birds, but also provide visual relief and tranquillity to townspeople who otherwise get tired of the hustle and bustle of the town.
People busy with their daily life will at least be able to enjoy the greenery because, after all, people appreciate beauty, said the mayor.