Will Bangladesh drown?

Bangladesh is a nation which is on the front line of the consequence of the climate changes. Being a populous river delta nation it faces the threat of sea level rise due to global warming. This threat is not new as often floods make hundreds of thousands of people homeless, because a large portion of the country submerge under water during large floods. But the resilient people of this country rise and start all over again to progress as a nation.


Image courtesy: Desh Calling

While the threat of sea-level rise is very much plausible, recent media reports have gone a bit far in indicating that Bangladesh is set to disappear under the waves by the end of the century. These kinds of views have drawn a lot of criticism in the media and in the blogosphere.

Writer and columnist Anisul Haque writes in Priyo.com:

বাংলাদেশ ডুবে যাবে−এই আওয়াজটা এত জোরেশোরে উঠল কেন? সম্প্রতি নাসা থেকে এ সংক্রান্ত একটা পূর্বাভাস দেওয়া হয়েছে। এ সবই করা হয় বৈশ্বিক উষ্ণায়ন বন্ধে জাতিসমূহকে সতর্ক ও সক্রিয় করে তোলার জন্যে। কিন্তু সব সময়ই বলির পাঁঠা বানানো হয় বাংলাদেশকে। সমুদ্রপৃষ্ঠ যদি উঁচু হয়, তাহলে শুধু বাংলাদেশ একা ডুববে, আর পৃথিবীর কোথাও কারও কোনো ক্ষতি হবে না, তা তো হয় না।…পৃথিবীর বহু বড় শহর আছে, সমুদ্রপৃষ্ঠের নিচে যাদের অবস্থান; সমুদ্রের পানি উঁচু হলে সেই সব শহরের কী হবে?

Why all these hue and cry that Bangladesh will be submerged under water? Recently a report from NASA predicted this. These kinds of reports are generated to warn others to wake up and take precautions against global warming. But Bangladesh is always made the scapegoat. If sea-levels rise then only Bangladesh will submerge and other countries will bear no damage; this is not the reality… There are a number of cities in the world which are below sea-level. What will happen to them in case of sea-level rise?

Desh Calling quotes a newspaper report which gives a contradictory picture that according to Bangladeshi scientists Bangladesh is growing in size by 20 square km a year due to accumulation of sediments:

In the next 50 years this could add up to the country gaining 1,000 square kilometers.

In the Bangla blogging community Sachalayatan the issue gave rise to an interesting debate. Himu argues that the threat is not mere rumor and it has some substance. Papua New Guinea, Australia and Tasmania were separated from each other because of sea-level rise.

A commenter Siraj opines in his post:

বৈশ্বিক উষ্ণায়নের এই ব্যাপক ধুঁয়া আসলে জ্বালানী রাজনীতির এক খেলা। ইমারজিং এশিয়ার ব্যাপক জ্বালানী চাহীদাকে নিয়ন্ত্রন এবং উন্নত প্রযুক্তির বিপনণই এর প্রধান উদ্দেশ্য।

The much ado about global warming is actually a play of energy politics. The main goal is to control the energy demands of the emerging Asia and a ploy to market the latest technologies.

Faruq Wasif also comments:

বাংলাদেশের ভেতরে এবং বৈশ্বিকভাবেও একটা মত জোরালো হচ্ছিল যে, যাদের কারণে আমরা ক্ষতিগ্রস্থ হচ্ছি, তাদের এর ক্ষতিপূরণ দিতে হবে। এরকম একটি কাজ যখন এগিয়ে যাচ্ছিল এবং বাংলাদেশের কিছূ ক্ষতিপূরণ পাবার সম্ভাবনা দেখা দিচ্ছিল, তখনই বিশ্বব্যাংক নাক গলায়। তারা ক্ষতিপূরণের বদলে, ক্লাইমেট ফান্ড গঠনের প্রস্তাব নিয়ে হাজির হলো। এরা দেশের ভেতরে কিছু প্রচারকও পাঠাল।….এরা আহাজারি করা শুরু করলো যে, বাংলাদেশ ডুববেই। এর জন্য নতুন প্রযুক্তি দরকার, নতুন বিনিয়োগ দরকার। ব্যস হয়ে গেল। যা বাংলাদেশ ক্ষতিপূরণ হিসেবে পেত, তা এখন আসবে ঋণ হিসেবে। এবং তার পরিমাণ দুই বিলিয়ন ডলার!

There was an opinion getting strong in Bangladesh and the world that those countries who are responsible for global warming will compensate the affected countries. When work towards that was going on and Bangladesh was about to receive some compensation, then the World Bank intervened. They came up with a proposal of a climate fund (controlled by World Bank). They have sent some preachers in this country. They started this cry that Bangladesh will definitely go under water. So new technology is required, new investment is required to prevent this. That's it. What Bangladesh was about to receive as compensation, they will receive now as a loan. And the amount is staggering 2 billion US Dollar!

In the Bangla Cricket forum a discussion followed on an op-ed published in the Daily Star titled “Bangladesh drowning: A reality or a myth?“ which said this negative publicity will hinder the country's growth by keeping away investors. Citing the successful Dutch land-management to protect their land under sea-level the article pointed that the impending threat to Bangladesh is population explosion not sea level rise.

A commenter Niceman70 said in the forum:

It is very important in this world to be positive and work out your problems at the same time.

So instead of creating a panic that Bangladesh will drown the world needs to work out ways to hinder such consequences of climate change in affected countries without employing shrewd politics.

12 comments

  • Michael

    as a people, we must do our own responsibilities in our environment.. no one could help us but our self.. this is the easiest and the basic ways to preserve our nature and for the next generation of humankind..

  • Global warming is nothing but a propaganda to control world’s energy. Bangladesh has an untapped real estate potential. Bangladesh can expand it’s land mass by taking the deposited silt from the rivers and depositing in the Bay of Bengal. Constant deposit of silt, layers after layers, and hardening it with modern technology can actualyl create massive land expasion. In doing so it can also lower the level of water levels from the rivers. So when it rains in the monsoon season, the rivers will not over flow.

    You see Himalayas constantly deposit silt to Bangladesh and much of it is deposited to the river beds in the rivers which raises the water levels. Bangladesh has cheap labor and the numbers to change the neitre coutnry for good. I belive more scientists should be in the ministry offices to advise on ways to use the billions of punds of silt from the river beds to help Bangladesh positively.

    Bangladesh has so much resources. You see constantly that India and Myanmar come to the waters of Bangladesh to tap in her resources. Good thing our military does not hesitate to send out ships to keep them at bay. The oils of Bangladesh must not be discovered. If the oil is discoverd in Bangladesh then Bangladesh will be invaded by world’s elites.

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