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Bangladesh Is Sinking Due To Global Warming

Bangladesh Is Sinking Due To Global Warming

Over 150 million people living in an approximate area of 148,000 square kilometres make Bangladesh one of the most densely populated country in the world. The sinking coastal areas are pushing this density even higher. Global warming may be a myth to the rich and prosperous but to the poor and lowly fishermen of Kutubdia, Bangladesh, it is a hard reality. Every month more families are losing their homes to the ever encroaching sea, the Bay of Bengal.
Kutubdia is an island 15 km off the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar. Abdul Muttalib, who lived here his whole life, saw his mud hut swept away by the sea at the age of 75. The inhabitants of this island are poor and have no other skills but fishing. The island had shrunk from 250 km to 37 km within the last century, but its inhabitants have no where else to go.
According to the Meteorological Research Centre of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, the coast is rising 4 millimetres per year at Hiron Point, 6 mm at Char Changa, and 7.8 mm at Cox’s Bazar. Given the present rate of rise, Bangladesh may lose 15 to 18 percent of its land area and 30 million people may become “environmental refugees,” according to some estimates by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Bangladesh authorities are taking some measures by changing people’s fishing habits and their way of livelihood. The Coast Trust has encouraged the local populace to take up shrimp farming and raising mud crabs in floating nurseries, and also set up cooperatives to market dry fish.
Most fishermen do not know why the sea is taking their home. Nonetheless, a young Gopal Jaladas, who goes to school, told a reporter, “We know all about the greenhouse gases being released into the air by the developed countries, which is why we are suffering.”
Words of hope came from a Bangladeshi, Dr A M Choudhury. Writing in a local paper New Age, Dr Choudhury suggested a novel approach of directing the sediments flowing through the rivers to stop the land erosion. The rivers carry sediments from the mountains and deposit silt near the sea, and that is how the Bangladesh delta was built. Dr. Choudhury suggested that by some concerted efforts the silts can be directed to redress the problems caused by global warming. It was however, only an idea until now.
We live in an increasingly interconnected world. Next time you floor the pedal of your SUV, dial up your thermostat couple notches up in the winter, or down in the summer, remember the cumulative effect is sinking some poor fisherman’s house in a country called Bangladesh, global warming or not.
And Gopal Jaladas knows what you are doing to him.



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