The eye soothing coconut gardens in Kuakata sea beach are disappearing.
The gardens with 15,000 trees on 167 acres of land stretching eight kilometres in length along the beach were raised in 1960s, local people said.
The gardens, raised by some local NGOs with assistance from the then government, also served as good picnic spots. Several lakh taka were earned annually from sale of green coconuts.
Decay of trees was first noticed about five years back. Now the number of coconut trees would be hardly 10,000, local people and officials of Patuakhali Forest Department and NGOs told this correspondent during a recent visit to the area.
This correspondent saw hundreds of left over roots after the dead coconut trees were taken away by local people.
Trees are dying in large scale now, they said. Heavy deposit of sand on the beach, carried by tidal waves, could be the reason, they said.
They think thick layer of sand on the ground prevents coconut trees from getting nutrients from soil as their roots do not penetrate deep into the soil. Excessive deposit of sand is harmful for them, forest officials said.
Water level in the sea beach rises by six to ten feet over the normal level during every rainy season, they said.