Climate change is ‘climate injustice’ for Bangladeshis, activists say : Goats and Soda : NPR

Activist Sufyan Khatun fears that more frequent storms due to climate change will make her community uninhabitable in Bangladesh. Storm surges bring brackish water into the river in the southwestern part of the country where they live, affecting agriculture and drinking water supplies.

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Sofia Khatun says major storms hit her community in Morrell Ganj in southwestern Bangladesh once every quarter of a century. Now, she says, “we’re facing a big storm. [every] Two to three years, a small storm almost every year. “The community needs strong defenses from wind and water attacks,” she says; otherwise the region could become uninhabitable.

What is particularly surprising is that this is an unnatural disaster. The storms are more severe, and the sea level has risen, as far-flung rich countries burn coal, oil and gas, releasing large amounts of gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. “We [in Bangladesh] Don’t contribute even 1% globally. [greenhouse gas] Exclusion, ”says Ashish Barwa, program manager. HelvetasA Swiss development organization working in Morrell Ganj. “I’m not making a problem, but I’m in trouble. [It’s] That’s what we call climate injustice. “

Views of the Morrell Ganj community in southwestern Bangladesh.

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This part of Bangladesh is the river delta, which is formed by a network of waterways that diverts its course towards the Bay of Bengal. When storms hit, storms carry large amounts of salt water from the ocean. The addition of water removes levy-like structures called embankments, floods rice fields and contaminates them. Pool Which people have traditionally relied on. Drinking water. “That brackish water is affecting our crops, our livelihoods, our fishing, everything,” the woman said through a spokeswoman on Zoom Call in the early hours of the morning.

Sitara Begum is filling buckets with drinking water from a plastic water tank.

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As a result, she says, the rice paddies that once yielded three crops a year are now barren for most of the year. Home gardens have also been damaged, depriving people of home-made food. Chronic diseases are on the rise due to contaminated water.

She says that because of the closure of farming, about 60% of the men in this community have gone elsewhere to find work. “Basically they go to the capital Dhaka or Chittagong. People even go to India, Bangalore or Kolkata.”

Rice paddy grown by farmers in Morrell Ganj, Bangladesh. Climate change has created more storms that carry brackish water to their growing areas. Instead of harvesting three crops a year, they will be able to pick only one crop.

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Helps to lead an organization called Khatun. Mother’s ParliamentWhich is emphasizing better water infrastructure in the coastal areas of Bangladesh. And if she had the opportunity to speak at the International Climate Summit in Glasgow, Scotland at the time, she knew what she would say. Its demands do not focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. She wants help dealing with the consequences of climate change that are already underway.

“There are two clear demands,” she says, and they are directed at both the Bangladeshi government and international governments and charities. She wants help rebuild embankments that are thought to stop the rise of brackish water and flood fields and homes. She says failed embankments are the root of the problem. “If [they are] All other problems will be solved if it is repaired and maintained properly. ”In addition, she wants better infrastructure to provide clean drinking water.

A purification plant purifies the water so it will be drinkable in this community in Bangladesh.

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A purification plant purifies the water so it will be drinkable in this community in Bangladesh.

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Its prescription for survival is not universally accepted, at least for the long term. Water experts still Discussion The merits of embankments and whether they can be a lasting solution to the region’s water problems. Undoubtedly, the region needs to adapt to the changing climate.

In many ways, Bangladesh has made significant progress in adaptation. There is now a system that sends warnings of impending storms, and a strong network of cyclone shelters where people can seek refuge. “We have the most effective cyclone warning and shelter program in the world,” he says. سلیم الحقDirector of the International Center for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD) in Dhaka. “Tens of thousands of people have lost their lives in recent years. Nowadays, we can issue warnings and evacuate millions.”

Top left: Hasina Begum grows vegetables in plastic pots to protect herself from floods. Top right: Parol Begum at her home in Morrell Ganj near the Panguchi River. Below: Khadija Begum catches as much rainwater as possible during the monsoon season. Other sources of drinking water have become contaminated with brackish water.

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Researchers have developed new varieties of crops that are best suited for growing in seasonal seasons when the risk of flooding is low, and there are some that can withstand more brackish water, although the woman says farmers Only a small minority have received these seeds so far. . Some villagers are growing home-grown vegetables in pots instead of salty soil. During the monsoon season, many people are using clean rainwater.

In fact, Bangladesh’s entire economy is a recent success. This has been done Growing fast, Fueling the growing textile industry in major cities. Expectation of life Yes, as are the measures of educational opportunities, and Child mortality Is down. The World Bank re-ranked the country from “low-income” to “low-middle-income.”

A view of Morrell Ganj shows the effects of erosion.

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This development increases energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, recently Bangladesh told The United Nations says the country’s “carbon dioxide emissions from energy will triple in the next ten years in” normal business “. The country still contributes very little to global carbon emissions, but its share is growing.

As climate change accelerates, however, the fate of its coastal areas remains deeply uncertain. “If we can’t repair the embankments, the Morrell Ganj area will be completely off the map in the future,” says Sofia Khatun.

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