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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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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.
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