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‘Bangladesh now global leader in climate info dissemination’

Published : 09 May 2022 10:40 PM | Updated : 10 May 2022 01:07 PM

Indian climate activist, writer and social anthropologist Amitav Ghosh has said Bangladesh has now become a global leader in disseminating information in creating climate change resilience programmes.

He said Bangladesh has successfully addressed climate change issues by disseminating information and sending out regular alerts and bulletins, reports the Times of India on May 9.

"In fact, Bangladesh has become a global leader in disseminating information in creating climate change resilience programmes. There are so many innovations," said the Indian author.

In collaboration with a Dutch team, he said, Bangladesh created oyster beds around their islands to absorb the impacts of sea-level rise.

"Bangladesh managed to ban single-use plastic successfully many years ago. Even, the USA could not come close to banning single-use plastic," Ghosh said.

Ghosh, who has been travelling to the Sundarbans for the last 20 years, found a lot of facilities have reached the remotest parts. "A lot of embankments were rebuilt and a lot of reinforcements happened."

 But, he believes, embankment is not a solution to the problem of accelerated pace of climate change there. "Embankments cannot hold out against sea-level rise, nor can they hold out against storm surge," he said.

Pointing out that the people of the Sundarbans have ways to cope with the climate crisis, the author said many families have kept a small plot in the interior, some sort of safe haven.

"Many others have migrated to the west coast. Many people of Sundarbans now work in Maharastra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala. It is an enormous demographic shift," he added.

About Kolkata city where he was born in 1956, Amitav Ghosh said the city is threatened by climate change and needs a resilience committee to address the issue to plan for what is going to come, and resist disasters like major floods.

"Kolkata is threatened by multiple reasons. A large part of the city is below sea level and embankments have protected the city for a very long time.

"I was horrified to find in one of the UN reports on the impact of flooding that Dhakuria is one of the most threatened areas. I was alarmed and left thinking of ways to help my mother and sisters in case of a catastrophic flood," Ghosh told the Times of India during a brief visit to his home in south Kolkata on Sunday.

He said the danger for the city stems from the fact that a large part of it is below sea-level and a major flood could turn out to be catastrophic for Kolkata.

The danger for the city is amplified as the deltaic region is sinking four times faster than the sea-level rise, he said.

"The sinking is happening due to other anthropogenic activities, like pumping up groundwater, oil and gas. Thus, it will take a much longer time to get relief from the flooding. People living in flood-prone areas should have ready access to canned food and dry-cell torches," said Ghosh, who wrote a number of award-winning books on climate change.

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