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The Rohingya Refugee Crisis in Bangladesh: Environmental Impacts, Policies, and Practices Public Deposited

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  • The Rohingya community have faced continuous violence, discrimination and statelessness in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. In 2017, a violent crackdown by Myanmar’s army on Rohingya Muslims sent almost a million fleeing across the border of Bangladesh. They found their temporary home in the refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh – now the largest refugee camp in the world. As a result of the sudden influx to Cox’s Bazar, a hotspot of enriched bio-diversity, the area is facing severe challenges to maintain the natural ecosystem. Regions like Teknaf, with a wildlife sanctuary of about 11,615 ha are now almost deserted. This paper aims to describe the major environmental effects of the Rohingya refugee influx including: deforestation, severe water scarcity and pollution, wildlife habitat loss, fragmentation, and destruction, poor management of solid and human waste, improper drainage systems, air pollution, surface water pollution, etc. Moreover, the paper seeks to analyze the policies, practices and role of the host-community government to mitigate the effects. While there are notable successful projects, like the Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC) providing liquefied petroleum gas (LPGs) to meet energy needs of the Rohingya, impacts to biodiversity continues to be affected by lack of usable water and wildlife destruction. More broadly, environmental impacts from the refugee camps present challenges to the Rohingya refugees themselves, and the host-community, further exacerbating environmental concerns.
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