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.”Continued on the next page