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Bangladesh and Global Warming

Climate is the average pattern of weather in a place. The change made by human activity or created by the natural disaster is known as climate change. The main cause to increase the temperature of the earth is green house effect. That means the temperature is increased by natural warming process. Carbon dioxide (co2) and other certain types of gases create a warming effect which is similar to the warming inside a green house. Human activities also play a vital role to change climate. However, developing countries and their people suffer a lot from the climate change because of their financial situation. One of them is Bangladesh. Bangladesh had 6.7% of land that is covered with forest which is about 871,000 hectares but people have been cutting down the tress to survive. Finally Bangladesh lost 1.3% of its forest for the 1990-2005 periods.

Situation of Bangladesh

Bangladesh is known as ‘Zero Ground’ that is only 5.18 meters above sea level. It has also 710km long coast to the Bay of Bengal. It is slopping down to the sea from the north to the south; meeting the Bay of Bengal in the southern end. The Sundarbans will be completely lost with 1 meter sea level rise (World Bank, 2000). Sea level rise, by reducing fresh water availability, reducing fisheries and agricultural production, eroding coastal land, losing biodiversity and by causing health hazards creates a danger situation for the people of Bangladesh. Rise of sea level has affected land erosion, loss in biodiversity, flood, damage to infrastructure and environmental refugees.
A recent study calculates that around 634 million people are living less than 10m above sea level. It is also estimated that 5 to 17 percent land areas will be inundated within next 100 years by 100 cm sea level rise, which can make 2 core people environmental refugee and a country like Bangladesh may not be able to accommodate such huge uprooted people. Bangladesh 19 out of 64 districts are in the coastal zone. According to the researcher, there is a big possibility of contemning salt from rising sea water into underground fresh water. That’s why; it is also known as prone to natural disaster.

Every individual are responsible for global warming in Bangladesh. Rich people have luxurious car and different types of modern technology like heater, refrigerator, water dispenser, iron, oven etc. They make excessive and unnecessary use of that modern equipment. The heat come from those electronic devices mixed with the environment which warmer the temperature. In addition, they throw the wastage food and recycle things on the street. We can easily find the stock of garbage in the second largest city of Bangladesh. In Chittagong, people pack the wastage things in the plastic and throw it on the street. People cannot breathe properly. People have to close their nose from 50 meter far from the garbage. On the other hand it is a busy international seaport. Tourists also throw their water bottles and fast food packet everywhere and pollute the environment. We can see mosquitoes, butterflies and many more insects dancing on the top of the garbage. That garbage is made of damaged seasonal fruits, papers, food from shops, storage and house.

On the other hand, According to the CIA fact book (2008) about 45% of the total population is below poverty line which is estimated in 2004. Poor people use wood and make fire for cooking which is a major source of indoor air pollution. Those people are unable to send their children to school. Finally they became street children. They indirectly help to balance environment even they are unknown about climate change. They collect plastic for money and sold them to the factory. If they did not get any work, they collect wastage things. They do not even wear slippers and wash their hands and legs properly. Their feet’s are infected from bacteria.

Human Activities in Bangladesh are making temperature hot to hotter. Warmer temperatures affect human health which is created by global warming. Increased of average temperature is known as global warming. The earth’s present average temperature is 14oC. January is the coldest month in Bangladesh but in the capital city Dhaka the average temperature was 19oC in January and maximum temperature was 32oC to 38oC in May. This year January was also like early May. People do not feel cold. It was good for street children because they do not have warm clothes to wear but rests of the other people were sad. In Asian University for Women which is located in Chittagong, air condition was used even on January. Gradually warmer temperature and pollution increases Mosquitoes, cockroaches etc. They bring different types of disease like Encephalitis, West Nile fever, Dengue fever, Malaria, Yellow Fever and Allergy. According to the World Health organization-Bangladesh (2000) records about 11 million people are at risk of malaria which is in east and north-east part of the Bangladesh. Warmer temperature not only brings the disease but it also causes the rise of sea level.

Heavy Rainfall, flooding, sea-level rising are becoming big issues in Bangladesh. Heavy rainfall brings floods. “20% of the country gets flooded during the monsoon period.” Flooding brings different types of diseases. For an example during the floods of 2004, more than 400000 people suffered from various diseases. On the other hand sometime drinking water pipe mixed with sea water and people have to use salty water. Due to the unsafe drinking water people are suffering from different types of disease like Anemia, Ascariasis, Arsenicosis, Cholera, Diarrhoea and Typhoid. A researched had been found that up to three billion people could suffer increased water shortages by 2080. All these types of change in climate can threatens to both rich and poor group people for their basic needs such as access to water, food production, health and the environment.
Moreover it can create a major obstacle to continue poverty reduction. It is also likely to reduce further low income and increases illness and death rates so it is essential to bring the awareness of environment to increase the living standard of people. Furthermore it will affect to animals. Fish populations are more likely to be affected by warmer and shortage of water. It will also decrease of food production and bring the shortage of food which will lead people to suffer from starvation. When people are struggling for food, they will decrease to buy clothes. Students will leave their school, colleges and university in searched of work to support their family because living beings need energy to survive.

As we know food, clothing, health and education are the basic needs of the people of Bangladesh. A study of Earth Policy Institute (2004) shows the problem more seriously that about 40 million people of Bangladesh out of 144 million will become environmental; refugee due to 1m sea level rise. Climate change threatened to Bangladesh for development.

Sustainable Solution to Balance Environment

Awareness is essential to solve the problem of climate change. It might be effective to lead by the youth. Youth are the leader of the future. Awareness is essential to balance the climate change people need to understand the problem. Then it will be easy to find the solution but it is very challenging to do. Youth can organize a training to make compost manure. It will help to increase the production of food. It will also decrease the garbage from the street. Each dustbin for each shop should be strictly applied. Local government need to arrange places and vehicles to collect the garbage from the dustbin. Local government can also make compost manure from that garbage. They can sell the manure to the people. It balanced the environment, increased food production and people’s as well as government income. Local government can spend that income for awareness.
Compulsory environment education from lower to higher level is essential to balance the environment but teaching method need to focus on real life. Students should assign a project or research related with environment which will deliberately force them to do self study to understand the climate. Gradually they will be interested in the subject. It will help to understand how the climate change is happening? What can be done to balance it? What can be its future consequences?

Writing article about climate change and the situation of Bangladesh can be an effective way to educate people. Every newspaper, magazine needs to separate the space for environment. In addition youth can write a letter to local as well as nation government about the climate change and the future consequences of it. It is an effective way to take the attention of government as well as international bodies.

Group work is essential to solve the problem. It is impossible to try to solve the problem alone but it is also true that every individual can make a difference. Spreading words to friends and family is a best and easy way to bring change in people’s thought. For example one person will tell at least five people about the climate change. Those five people tell each five and so on. It will take time but is an effective way to understand the problem. Gradually people will be aware of climate change. It will start from family, neighbor and finally to all Bangladeshi.

Arranging different types of competition related with climate change might be another way to understand the problem. Program like essay competition, debate, speech and quize contest related with climate change can help to bring the interest of students as well as other. Competitors need to do the research. Taking a part in a competition can help them to understand problem and find solution.

Plantation can be effective way to balance the environment. Plantation on site of the street, bank of the river and in unused land help to produced more oxygen. It will help to decrease the carbon dioxide. Furthermore replantation is also essential to balance environment. Finally government should make a law of environment and implement it strictly. Government need to take the action in this issue. They can conduct research and present the information to the people. They need to arrange different types of visualized program drama, film of climate change to bring awareness among people. Awareness can be different types but it’s our responsibility to make other people aware about the dangers posed by climate change.


jadefrank's picture

Climate Change

Hi Sunita,

This is great write-up about climate change in Bangladesh. Way to take action and blog about the climate! Thanks for sharing this!


sunita.basnet's picture

Working on it

Hello Jade,
Thank you so much for your comment. Today I am working to edit my paper to make it stronger. then I will update in both group. Once again thanks for oyur inspiring words.

With Love and Regards
Sunita Basnet

Mauri's picture

Global (and local?!) climate change

Sunita, you explained in one row so effectively what sometimes entire books obscure! ;-)

The picture you're doing on Bangladesh is dramatic, and hitted me as a punch in the stomach.

I wand to add one thing pertaining Southern Europe, where in addition to global warming we also begin to see "local" ones.

By "global", I intend those dealt so well in your post. I've learned something valuable (quite technical, but I'm sure you can follow too if you aren't already used to) from the huge IPCC reports, available at the IPCC site ( ) for download. I concentrated onto the "physical basis" (volume 1) where, despite the size and, as I said, technical depth, I also found excellent less-technical presentations. Then there are volumes 2 and 3...

I just wonder what these volumes might do in your hands...

If you have difficulties downloading the material, I may also give you as a (huge) present a paper copy of Volume 1. But if you can download the material, I think that's the best solution - I discovered the wonderful figures can in some way extracted from the text. I guess they are in the public domain, and you can use in your education activity freely (but a check with the IPCC may be worth; I guess they will like being cited, at no charge). If you prefer my paper copy, please indicate me an address I may send it.

Now, if you like, my "bit" of experience.

I happen by chance to be a member of the Milan's Meteorological Observatory. There we made various studies on the urban heat island phenomenon in Milan area, and found one very interesting thing: in many places, temperature is rising more than the global warming would explain. This is true not only in the urban area itself, but also in the "immediate" surroundings.

The main reason is: stations, where temperature data have been collected for a long time, began as "rural" but were later incorporated in the "urban" area, quickly extending towards N and E. That is, they "were" outside the urban heat island, but now are fully inside.

This local effect is now not so local, as "Milan" extends now from Brescia to Varese in E-W direction, and until Lugano (Switzerland) to North.

Some effects are just nuisances (although hard: increased Summer temperature, higher demand of energy for air conditioning, even more heat dissipation, ...). Others are possibly more dangerous, even in immediate time scale.

Of these possibly local effect, one was in the reach of research activities by people I know well. In the last five years (more or less) an Interreg joint project by Lombardy (a region in Italy) and Switzerland studied the micro-climatological state and change in glacier caves in Moncodeno (Grigna Settentrionale, 60km NNE from Milan). This is an extremely interesting environment, in part because of its rarity (in Europe there are barely three other sites with significant glacier caves), and in another thanks to the exceptionality (despite latitude, just 46° N, more than 180 glacier caves have been censed in Moncodeno).

The "real" importance of glacier caves stems however from two facts:
- They allow to study climates past to some ten thousand years, and, more practically
- They are a storage of water.

Well, during the study (made in a 190m-deep cave, codename LO LC 1650, instrumented with a lot of data collection points) we had the sad opportunity to witness a spectacular retreat of deep ice. According to the study leader, this is due to a tiny change in external average temperature - tiny in terms of bare figures, but enormous as the cave thermal system equilibrium is concerned.

In another cave, LO LC 1592, also instrumented, I personally witnessed the complete vanishing of ice.

Alpine glaciera are also quickly retreating. Last year we had a lot of hope: snow returned after many dry winters. It wasn't sufficient by the way: summertime was quite dry and warm, and the new snow cover vanished...

To date, the area of Milan has no water availability problems (pollution is another story). Most of this water spends the initial part of its "useable" life as glacier ice. If overbuilding, through expansion of urban heat island, accelerates glacier ablation, then I guess we'll be in big big troubles, quite soon.

About global warming. Venice is exactly at sea level. Millions are spent on the MOSE system, an array of mobile bulkheads (in Italian, "paratie" - I'm not so sure of English translation) stopping water entering the Laguna under normal conditions. We hope it will suffice...

Sunita, little Sun, continue to shine. Your idea, of educating young people on global warming is, maybe, the most precious and return-safe thing we all might be. Help us to help you, it you need.


sunita.basnet's picture

Wow! interesting website

Wow!! dear what an interesting website you have send it to me. WOw you have provide many information about various countries. I wonder you are working from years related environment.

Yes, global warming is a big issues all around the world. we need to work atleast to reduce the global warming and for that each and every human beings need to be aware of the environment. I think to make aware, it's our responsibility as a aware and educated citizen.

Thank you so much for sending me this link and calling me "little Sun" .

Will love to learn more about environment int he future.
Byee dear
Big hugs

With Love and Regards
Sunita Basnet

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