As a cancer slowly destroys the human body, the same way climate change also destroys our environment and our natural resources. Climate change effects humans and non-humans across the globe. Increasing temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, rising sea levels, and increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events are adversely affecting ecosystem functions, agriculture, food security, infrastructure, water resources, and human health. Bangladesh is one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world. Located between the Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal, the country is very prone to natural disasters. Climate change has accelerated the intensity and frequency of occurrences of salinity, storms, drought, irregular rainfall, high temperature, flash floods – all the results of global warming.
Global warming is harmful for crops of the tropical countries. We know that Bangladeshi agriculture system mostly is dependent on Mousam or weather. I still remember some years we got good crops, but other years, crops did poorly. It was, and is because of weather. However, now climate change directly effects agriculture. There are some major points I would like to discuss, especially how climate change has made agriculture vulnerable day by day.
According to World Bank Report in 2015, Bangladesh has 70.63% agricultural land where the total area is 56980 square miles. Since Bangladesh is a developing country, they have been building factories, mills and similar structures. Building factories is affecting our agriculture; for example, the city I came from has a huge factory called, “Lafarge Surma Cement LTD”. This factory requires a main ingredient which is soil. I saw that they gave some money to land owner to take soil from their land. As a result, land owner’s land was filled with stone dust which is not good for plowing. I am not sure how long they will keep taking soil from the lands. This is how we are losing our cultivated land.
Not only are we losing cultivated land, but also factories are destroying our water. Bangladesh has one of the largest river networks in the world with a total number of about 700 rivers including tributaries. For that reason, Bangladesh has an opportunity to export fish worldwide. However, lots of factories get water from rivers and they also drain waste water to the rivers. This waste water mixes with chemicals which disrupts the lives and the environment of the fish. We are already experiencing this situation; wherever these chemicals are released into the rivers, it contaminates the fish and we cannot eat the fish from this place.
Floods have the most deleterious effects on crop production of Bangladesh. The 1988 flood caused reduction of agricultural production by 45%. Higher discharge and low drainage capacity, in combination with increased backwater effects, would increase the frequency of such devastating floods under climate change scenarios. Prolonged floods would tend to delay Aman Rice paddies planting, resulting in significant loss of potential for Aman production, as observed during the floods of 1998. Loss of the Boro rice crop from flash floods has become a regular phenomenon in the harbor areas over the recent years. Considering all the direct and induced adverse effects of climate change on agriculture, one may conclude that crop agriculture would be even more vulnerable in Bangladesh in warmer world.
The sea level along the Bangladesh coast is rising at about 3 millimeters a year, and the sea surface temperature is also showing a rising trend (Bangladesh National Adaptation Program of Action, 2000). Bangladesh is facing the reality of climate change due to global warming like other parts of the planet. The climate pattern is altering across the world due to global warming. This will have an impact on the composition of the atmosphere, hydrology, geomorphology, ecology, soil, land use, biological diversity, vegetation etc. The individual impacts on each environmental component also have interactive effects. Environmental components are interrelated, and the world’s ecosystems are linked to these components. Therefore, many natural ecosystems will be changed because of climate change.
From now on, adaptation and awareness about the impact of climate change in agriculture, and many other sectors, are imperative for the development of Bangladesh. In this respect, the government, the people of Bangladesh, and international bodies will have to work together, united, to face the climate change problem.
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