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Essay On Climate Change In Bangladesh

Introduction:

Bangladesh is one of the largest deltas in the world which is highly vulnerable to Natural Disasters because of its Geographical location, Flat and low-lying landscape, Population density, Poverty, Illiteracy, Lack of Institutional setup etc. In other words, the Physical, Social as well as Economic conditions of Bangladesh are very typical to any of the most vulnerable countries to Natural Disasters in the world. The total land area is 147,570 sq. km. consists mostly of Floodplains (almost 80%) leaving major part of the country (with the exception of the north-western highlands) prone to flooding during the rainy season. Moreover, the adverse affects of Climate Change – especially High Temperature, Sea-level Rise, Cyclones and Storm Surges, Salinity Intrusion, Heavy Monsoon Downpours etc. has aggravated the overall Economic Development scenario of the country to a great extent.

Bangladesh has got a population of around 150 million (2011) with a life expectancy at birth of around 63 years, and an adult literacy rate of 47.5%. The recent Human Development Report ranks Bangladesh number 140 of 177 nations. Bangladesh has an average annual population growth rate of around 2% (4.6% in urban areas), almost 75% of the population lives in rural areas and a population density of 954.4 (people per sq. km.). Bangladesh is predominantly Agricultural with two thirds of the population engaged in farming or Agro-based industrial activity mainly. The climate of Bangladesh can be characterized by High temperatures, Heavy rainfall, High humidity, and fairly marked three seasonal variations like Hot Summer, Shrinking Winter and Medium to Heavy Rains during the Rainy season.

Climatic Impacts:

Bangladesh experiences different types of Natural Disasters almost every year because of the Global Warming as well as Climate Change impacts, these are:  

Floods / Flash Floods (Almost 80% of the total area of the country is prone to flooding).

Cyclones and Storm Surges (South and South-eastern Parts of the country were hit by Tropical Cyclones during the last few years).

Salinity Intrusion (Almost the whole Coastal Belt along the Bay of Bengal is experiencing Salinity problem).

Extreme Temperature and Drought (North and North-western regions of the country are suffering because of the Extreme Temperature problem).

Sectoral Impacts

Agriculture and Fisheries:

As already mentioned earlier, the economy of Bangladesh is based on Agriculture mainly, with two thirds of the population engaged (directly or indirectly) on Agricultural activities; although the country is trying move towards industrialization slowly during the last one and a half decade almost. So, the overall impact of Climate Change on Agricultural production in Bangladesh would be wide spread and devastating for the country’s economy. Beside this, other impacts of Climate Change such as - Extreme Temperature, Drought, and Salinity Intrusion etc. are also responsible for the declining crop yields in Bangladesh. Temperature and Rainfall changes have already affected crop production in many parts of the country and the area of arable land has decreased to a great extent. The Salinity intrusion in the coastal area is creating a serious implications for the coastal land that were traditionally used for rice production.

The fisheries sector has also experienced an adverse affect because of the impacts of Climate Change. The fisheries sector contributes about 3.5% of the GDP in Bangladesh and people depend on fish products in order to meet up majority of their daily protein requirements. There are around 260 species of fish in the country and almost all the varieties are sensitive to specific salt and freshwater conditions.

Water Resources and Hydrology:

In a high density country like Bangladesh, the effects of Climate Change on the Surface and Ground water resources will be very severe and alarming. Changes to water resources and hydrology will have a significant impact on the country’s economy, where people mostly depend on the Surface water for Irrigation, Fishery, Industrial production, Navigation and similar other activities.

Coastal Areas:

Almost one forth of the total population of the country live in the coastal areas of Bangladesh, where majority of the population are some how affected (directly or indirectly) by Coastal Floods / Tidal Surges, River-bank Erosion, Salinity, Tropical Cyclones etc. With the rise of Sea-level  up to one meter only, Bangladesh could lose up to 15% of its land area under the Sea water and around 30 million people living in the coastal areas of Bangladesh could become Refugees because of Climate Change impacts. Agriculture, Industry, Infrastructure (School, Hospitals, Roads, Bridges and Culverts etc.), Livelihoods, Marine Resources, Forestry, Biodiversity, Human Health and other Utility services will suffer severely because of the same. Salinity Intrusion from the Bay of Bengal already penetrates 100 kilometers inside the country during the dry season and the Climate Change in its gradual process is likely to deteriorate the existing scenario to a great extent. Since most of the country is less than 10 meters above Sea level and almost 10% of the population of the country is living below 1 meter elevation - the whole coastal area is Highly Vulnerable to High Tides and Storm Surges. Moreover, the Bay of Bengal is located at the tip of the north Indian Ocean, where severe Cyclonic storms as well as long Tidal waves are frequently generated and hit the coast line with severe impacts because of the Shallow as well as Conical shape of the Bay near Bangladesh.

Forestry / Biodiversity:

Bangladesh has got a wide diversity of Ecosystems including Mangrove forests at the extreme south of the country. The “Sundarbans” a World Heritage, is the largest Mangrove Forest in the world, comprising 577,00 ha of land area along the Bay of Bengal. A total of 425 species have been identified there, the most significant is the famous Royal Bengal Tiger. Therefore, Climate Change impacts will have negative effects on the Ecosystem of the Forest recourses in Bangladesh while the Sundarbans is likely to suffer the most.

Urban areas:

Cities and Towns situated along the Coastal belt in Bangladesh are at the Front line of Climate Change related Disaster impacts and could experience a severe damage directly because of the Sea level Rise and Storm Surges at any time. Direct impacts may occur through the increased Floods, Drainage congestion and Water logging as well as Infrastructure Damage during extreme events. The important Urban sectors that suffered severely by the previous floods in Bangladesh include Urban Infrastructure, Industry, Trade, Commerce and Utility services etc. As consequence, it hampered usual productivity during and after major floods and hence increased the vulnerability of the urban poor by many folds. It should be mentioned here that, around 40 per cent of the urban population in Bangladesh lives in the Slum and Squatter settlements of the major cities which are highly prone to Disaster risk during Flooding further.

Vulnerable groups:

The Urban poor are therefore directly at the risk of Natural Disasters being enhanced by the impacts of Climate Change - especially in the absence / shortage of the necessary Infrastructure as well as Employment opportunity for them in the major cities of the country. In Bangladesh, Women are especially Vulnerable because of the Gender inequalities in the Socio- economic and Political institutions. During the 1991Cyclone and Storm surge in Bangladesh, the death rate in case of women was almost five times higher than the men. Because men were able to communicate with each other in the public spaces, but the information did not reach most of the women timely.

Conclusion:

Dear Global Citizens... and Friends of the Global Village...!

The Glaciers are Melting, Sea-level is Rising since the World is getting Warmer - our Coast line, Green Villages, Paddy fields, Schools, Hospitals, Markets are sinking... Please, come forward and let’s fight our Common Problems together...!

People are losing their Homesteads, Agriculture fields, Sweet water Ponds, Fishery, Poultry, Livestock and every thing... Becoming Homeless - taking shelter in the roadside Unhygienic Squatters and Slums. Once upon a time – they had Sweet Families along with all the members - Mom-Dad, Brothers-Sisters, Husband-Wife, Sons and Daughters...! They were surrounded by Greeneries, Water bodies, Vegetable gardens and Fruit trees - Cows, Goats, Hens and Ducks were common in every family... now, all are sweet memories...! Small Boats used to play in the Canals and Rivers - were the main mode of Transportation That Village was like a piece of Heaven... they lived for generations...!

Dear Friends, let’s Protect our Lovely Planet as the Safe Home for our future Generation...
Please... Let’s not think, Climate Change as an Individual Problem of any country or nation – Let’s think, it’s our Common Issue, we’ve to face efficiently as “Citizens of the Global Village” from now on...!  

With Best Regards –

A.K.M. Rezaul Karim.

(Architect-City Planner)

Bangladesh.
29-03-2012

Climate Change and Bangladesh

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Climate change is the change in earth’s climatic pattern. This can result in an increase of temperatures; which increases the likelihood of the recurrence of devastating natural disasters. Although our planet has seen the significance of climate change in its history, today’s problem is even more alarming due to the rate of change of human activities. Due to increasing concentrations of Green house gases, our climate is expected to change even more in the coming decades (Climate Change Cell).

Bangladesh, a country located in South Asia is the most affected country by climate change in the world (Aneki). This climate change has a huge impact on the country’s agriculture, infrastructure, and way of life. This is mainly because of the geographical location of the country, making it highly vulnerable to natural disasters. Bangladesh has a flat, low lying landscape, and lack of institutional setup. Climate change is becoming a very crucial issue to its citizens and government of Bangladesh. More than 80% of the land is prone to flooding (Denissen). About two thirds of Bangladesh’s population is engaged in agriculture; so climate change will affect these farmers in a bad way.
These natural disasters bring floods, cyclones, storms, extreme temperature and drought into the country (Denissen). Mostly, the Northern regions of Bangladesh suffer due to extreme temperature problem.
The World Bank warns Bangladesh of suffering climate change the worst by the year 2100. The report estimates that the sea level will rise by 3 feet. This will cause huge flooding, and the falling of crops in the country (Hasan). It is also mentioned that this will cause poverty and inflation (Hasan).
Rebecca Sultan, a woman living near the Bay of Bengal, has been shattered by climate change twice in one year. Firstly, a Cyclone of 140mph wind ripped through her village. This disaster killed about 6,000 people, flattening their houses and crops, and devastated the lives of millions, including Sultan’s (The Guardian). The second Cyclone hit the Bay 18 months later, but this one was even worse. Cyclone Aili tore in with flash floods, salt water, and torrential rains (The Guardian). “We know we must live with climate change and are trying to adapt," said Sultan (The Guardian).
Storms like this happened once every 25 years. But these two disasters made history change. These super cyclones have convinced villagers and the government that Bangladesh is at danger.
Mr. Atiq Rahman, the director of Bangladesh Centre Studies said, “There will be more droughts in the North.

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MLA Citation:
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Within the next 40 years, about 30 million people could lose all their property from Climate Change” (The Guardian).
In order to reduce the damage caused by these natural disasters, lots of conferences have been held in the past 5 years. There was a Bonn Climate Change conference held in May, and the Doha conference, held in November (Ministry of Environment and Forests). These two conferences established the formation of the ‘Consultation Workshop on Climate Change Database.’ The main objective of these workshops was to gather information from other people around the world on how to establish a user friendly Climate Change database, and what should be done in order to prevent these disasters from happening (Ministry of Environment and Forests).
One big problem facing Bangladesh is that there is too much water during the monsoon and too little water during the dry season. This results to heavy flooding in the winter and ponderous drought in summer.
Graph 1 shows how droughts affect crop production in Bangladesh. As we can see from the graph, T. Aman is the most affected type of crop, whereas Potatoes are the least affected. These causes will always tend to bring hunger, inflation, and higher poverty rates.

Graph 1: Impact of drought on agriculture and crop production (Aneki)











Map 1 shows the amount of droughts there are in Bangladesh. As you can see, most of the very severe droughts happen at the North Western part. A little area in the southern part near the Bay of Bengal has no droughts. Most areas show a moderate amount of drought even though others are very severe. Droughts in the summer are expected to get even worse, increasing by 1.3oC by 2030, and a 2.6oC by the year 2070 (Aneki).


Map 1: Drought prone areas in the summer (Aneki)
Map 2 shows the amount of flooding there is in Bangladesh. As you can see, there are some severe flash flooding in the borders of the country. Most of the occurrences are severe rise flooding. River erosion also takes place, cutting through the middle part of the country. We can also see that some low river flooding takes place in some areas scattered around the country. I presume that these low flooding countries will become overpopulated as the winter season approaches. Flooding highly affects various sectors in the country. It is estimated that the average monthly rainfall in the winter could increase by 11% in 2030, and 27% by the year 2070 (Aneki).

Map 2: Flood prone areas in the rainy season (Aneki)
Map 3 shows some areas that are likely to be hit by Cyclones at anytime. As we can see from the graph, most of the Cyclone prone areas are located at the South. This means that the water and wind coming from the Bay of Bengal will affect this part. These cyclones could also take away lots of land from the southern borders by erosion. These areas have a little population due to fear of getting hit by these powerful cyclones.
Map 3: Cyclone Prone areas in Bangladesh (Aneki)
So, what are other countries doing about this effect on Bangladesh? Well, a lot has been done by the international world. On March 2012, Bangladesh had an international climate change meeting. Parliamentarians from 20 countries have agreed to consolidate efforts in global criteria (Afrin). The legislators talked about Bangladesh and announced the establishment of a global network of Parliamentarians in support of people most vulnerable to climate change (Afrin). They also called on some governments in MEDC’s to establish action plans on climate change, and to allocate fixed budgets to reduce the effects of climate (Afrin). The government of Bangladesh has also budgeted $ 5 billion to support the implementation of 44 programs of BCCSAP in the next 5 years (Mukta).
Looking at it from a national perspective, for Bangladesh there is no doubt that climate change is a reality. Being one of the most densely populated countries and already prone to all sorts of natural disasters from cyclones to droughts, Bangladesh’s fight against climate change is the sort very few will face. An increase in average temperatures within the country, an increase in sea level, and floods and storms as well as droughts will be fiercer (The World Bank). The rising sea levels make salinity and this poses a risk to the availability of clean drinking water. Furthermore, the floods not only destroy crops but they also taint the waters available to the people thus causing a higher risk of water borne diseases such as cholera (Mostofa).
One big question right now to government is; are there further steps we could take? I think that countries could reinforce their laws, and reduce corruption on this case. Big companies still pollute too much, and this needs to stop! Governments should also be more worried about climate change, because it could destroy the whole world.
In order to reduce climate change, Bangladesh has to become more active in participating in international efforts to help the country. Currently, the IPCC, COP and UNFCC are addressing this problem. It should also encourage the developed countries to make targets for greenhouse gas emission reductions (Koudstaa, Werners and Ahsan). Bangladesh should also be able to negotiate with other countries on how much they could pollute (Koudstaa, Werners and Ahsan).
When we compare the amount of damage made in Bangladesh and other countries, Bangladesh is the most to be affected by it. As we can see in Table 1, Burma ranks second, 8.25. This is 0.25 points less than Bangladesh (Aneki). Vietnam ranks forth, India seventh and China ranks tenth. China is the second most country that pollutes after USA. Lots of talks have been held between these two countries, warning them that they are causing serious harm to the environment. Several laws and budgets are being held in these two countries on the amount of pollution that they can emit.
Table 1: Top 10 countries mostly affected by climate change (Aneki)

Table 1 shows 10 countries which are mostly affected by climate change. As we can see, Bangladesh is number one. I will now do a comparison research on Bangladesh and Burma to see how these countries are affected.


Table 2 is a comparison research. It shows how climate change is affecting the two countries, and which one is affected in which way. As we can see, Bangladesh has a lot of issues with the environment. The population difference is also massive. Bangladesh has about 104,570,000 more people than Burma. So we can tell that Bangladeshi citizens face a bigger challenge.
Table 2: Bangladesh and Burma’s climate change disasters (The World Factbook)
On a personal perspective, I think that Bangladesh can adapt to climate change by continuing to build infrastructures like cyclone shelters, the establishment of several projects to protect the countries people and cultivation from floods and its efforts to create an early-warning storm system.
Expanding my understanding of climate change and Bangladesh’s issue with climate change, I began to think twice about how my family, friends, and I are affecting the climate. Is it in a positive way, or in a negative way? My family and I have started recycling bottles, paper, and various other things in order to be a positive effect to climate change. I also interviewed two people in my neighborhood to see what they are doing about this problem. I spoke to Ashenafi, a neighbor of mine. He said that he is aware of this problem. He reduces the amount of material he wastes, and sometime recycles. However, Ashenafi said “Climate change isn’t really affecting my country, so I am mostly reluctant on these cases” (Ashenafi). I then told him that I disagreed on this thought of his, and told him about our friends in Bangladesh. He then promised me that he would think about his actions on climate change, and will spread the word to other friends.
On a global scale, one of the best solutions is to make the transition to renewable energy. Yes some countries are starting to switch to renewable energy, but almost all have not made a 100% change. By using wind energy, wave energy as well as solar energy, the emission of carbon dioxide can be eliminated and reduce the impacts of climate change (ourclimate.net).
Ethiopia is a country that doesn’t pollute much. There are laws made by the government on how much factories are able to pollute. Most of the electricity we are getting is from hydroelectric dams, which are ‘echo friendly.’ However, lots of people in the countryside pollute from their houses because they use the old way of cooking. They burn coal and wood to provide the heat for cooking. Battery powered cars still have not been introduced to the country. We still use cars that use diesel, and Naphtha. These cars and Lorries pollute too much, and I think that more should be done to introduce these ‘eco-friendly’ cars.
In addition, the United Nations should fulfill their promises and aims of helping countries facing problems. Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations states that the UN has the purpose of, ‘solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character’ and as climate change is a global issue, the UN should continue to help aid Bangladesh with funding the departments of government.
Dear friends of the global village, as you might have heard, our sea level is rising, the earth is getting warmer! Let us all protect our home, the animals, trees, and ourselves. Climate change is a very big issue, and lots have to be done in order to resolve this big problem. Our friends in the country of Bangladesh are losing their land, homes, agriculture fields, and even their lives by climate change disasters. One day, these people had big happy families. These families owned huge farms. But know, due to climate change, all these are memories of the past. A lot of these big happy families have been buried, and are no longer there in their homes, or with their loved ones.
So what I want to say is, let us all come together as one and save our planet for the next generation. Our great-grandfathers, and grandmothers didn’t destroy it, they just passed it on and gave us the full responsibility to continue the tradition. If we don’t think that we can stop climate change, we are wrong. Anyone could be a role model to the world. You shouldn’t have big factories recycling waste products, you could start from home. If we all think it is a common issue, we have to face it effectively as “Citizens of the Global Village.”
I want us all to REDUCE, REUSE, and RECYCLE! I can make a change. You could make a change. And finally, we could make a change.



Works Cited
5h4d35joe. Debate.org. 28 January 2013



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