Mashura Shammi

Invited Speaker: Mashura Shammi

Title: Strategic tourism impact management in the Chittagong hill tracts (CHT) region, Bangladesh

Mashura Shammi is an Associate Professor at the Department of Environmental Sciences, Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh. She completed her B.Sc. (honours) and M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences from Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh. She has a PhD in Ecology from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS) funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and The World Academy of Sciences (CAS-TWAS) President’s Fellowship Program in 2017. She was a fellow of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) where she completed an international training program on Strategic Environmental Assessment ITP-SEA, 2017B Asia. She is also working as the coordinator of the ITP-SEA Alumni Network (SEAN) Bangladesh. In addition, she is a fellow of the Organization of Women in Science for the Developing Worlds (OWSD) Early career women scientist (ECWS) 2019-2020 on “Anthropogenic Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission and carbon dynamics in the Ganges River, Bangladesh”. She was also a fellow of Eco-Peace Leadership Center (EPLC)-Asia in 2018-2019. Her research interests lie in environmental interdisciplinary research such as biogeochemistry of salinity intrusion, climate change and environmental assessment.

The‌ ‌Chittagong‌ ‌hill‌ ‌tracts‌ ‌(CHT)‌ ‌region‌ ‌are‌ ‌within‌ ‌the‌ ‌Chattogram‌ ‌division‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌South-East‌ ‌
part‌ ‌of‌ ‌Bangladesh,‌ ‌bordering‌ ‌India,‌ ‌and‌ ‌Myanmar.‌ ‌CHT‌ ‌covers‌ ‌50%‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌forest‌ ‌resources‌ ‌of‌ ‌
Bangladesh,‌ ‌along‌ ‌with‌ ‌0.67‌ ‌million‌ ‌hectares‌ ‌of‌ ‌hilly‌ ‌land.‌ ‌One‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌significant‌ ‌reservoirs‌ ‌of‌ ‌
natural‌ ‌resources‌ ‌and‌ ‌a‌ ‌land‌ ‌of‌ ‌indigenous‌ ‌diversity,‌ ‌there‌ ‌are‌ ‌34%‌ ‌different‌ ‌tribal‌ ‌communities‌ ‌
dwell‌ ‌here.‌ ‌Due‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌natural‌ ‌beauty‌ ‌and‌ ‌rich‌ ‌heritage‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌indigenous‌ ‌community,‌ ‌CHT‌ ‌is‌ ‌
visited‌ ‌by‌ ‌25-30‌ ‌lac‌ ‌tourists‌ ‌every‌ ‌year.‌ ‌Every‌ ‌fountain‌ ‌falls‌ ‌and‌ ‌streams‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌CHT‌ ‌forest‌ ‌
region‌ ‌is‌ ‌home‌ ‌to‌ ‌a‌ ‌highly‌ ‌biodiverse‌ ‌ecosystem:‌ ‌protected‌ ‌forests‌ ‌or‌ ‌wildlife‌ ‌sanctuaries.‌ ‌
Moreover,‌ ‌these‌ ‌streams‌ ‌are‌ ‌the‌ ‌primary‌ ‌source‌ ‌of‌ ‌potable‌ ‌drinking‌ ‌water,‌ ‌domestic‌ ‌use,‌ ‌and‌ ‌
irrigation‌ ‌for‌ ‌local‌ ‌communities.‌ ‌There‌ ‌are‌ ‌many‌ ‌governmental‌ ‌run‌ ‌resorts.‌ ‌Private‌ ‌entrepreneurs‌ ‌have‌ ‌also‌ ‌developed‌ ‌different‌ ‌hotels,‌ ‌motels,‌ ‌and‌ ‌resorts‌ ‌to‌ ‌support‌ ‌the‌ ‌local‌ ‌tourism‌ ‌industry‌ devoid‌ ‌of‌ ‌proper‌ ‌environmental‌ ‌impact‌ ‌assessment‌ ‌(EIA),‌ ‌waste‌ ‌and‌ ‌wastewater‌ ‌management.‌ ‌Unaware‌ ‌of‌ ‌tourism‌ ‌activities‌ ‌in‌ ‌pristine‌ ‌areas‌ ‌have‌ ‌created‌ ‌substantial‌ ‌loads‌ ‌of‌ ‌solid‌ ‌wastes.‌ ‌The‌ ‌impact‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌tourist‌ ‌industry‌ ‌has‌ ‌been‌ ‌deteriorating‌ ‌ecosystems,‌ ‌natural‌ ‌resources‌ ‌such‌ ‌as‌ ‌water,‌ ‌biodiversity,‌ ‌and‌ ‌polluting‌ ‌the‌ ‌local‌ ‌environment‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌indigenous‌ ‌community.‌ ‌Considering‌ ‌the‌ ‌scenarios‌ ‌mentioned‌ ‌above,‌ ‌it‌ ‌is‌ ‌high‌ ‌time‌ ‌to‌ ‌manage‌ ‌the‌ ‌tourism‌ ‌activities‌ ‌in‌ ‌CHT‌ ‌strategically‌ ‌focusing‌ ‌on‌ ‌ecotourism‌ ‌and‌ ‌strategic‌ ‌environmental‌ ‌assessment‌ ‌(SEA)‌ ‌to‌ ‌mitigate‌ ‌environmental‌ ‌impacts.‌ ‌ ‌

Keywords:‌ ‌environmental‌ ‌impact‌ ‌assessment‌ ‌(EIA),‌ ‌natural‌ ‌resource,‌ ‌strategic‌ ‌
environmental‌ ‌assessment‌ ‌(SEA),‌ ‌tourism,‌ ‌waste‌ ‌management‌ ‌