Impact of Climate Change on the lives of people of Coastal regions of Bangladesh
Bangladesh has witnessed a series of floods and cyclones almost every year which has had a huge impact on the lives of the poor people. A country like Bangladesh where the majority of the jobs are based on the agriculture sector, it is crucial to analyze the impacts of Climate Change. We have done this research in a group consisting of three members. The research mainly focuses on three particular areas of impacts- economic, health and mental. In this research, we will discover how issues like women’s health problems deteriorate due to climate change and their struggle to combat the challenges. Extreme critical issues like violence against women are also highlighted and discussed in this paper as it has also a link with the climate change. Migration taking place due to climate change is another interesting aspect that has been highlighted in this research. This paper will contain all the information that clearly shows the impact on the lives of the people of coastal areas of Bangladesh and the various ways or initiatives that are helping them to adapt in the crisis situations.
From ancient times till date humans have successfully adapted themselves with the environment. The world has witnessed many natural disasters like cyclones, floods, earthquakes, Tsunamis and many more. Moreover, pandemics like the recent ongoing COVID-19 have left many countries economically devastated.
Floods wreak havoc on Bangladesh’s coastal districts every year. Poor farmers face huge income loss due to natural disasters like Cyclones and floods. The Government of Bangladesh initiated a lot of initiatives to ease the impacts, still it is found that these were inadequate to heal the pain of the people living in these areas.
In research from Information on Disaster Risk Reduction of the Member Countries (n.d.), Bangladesh is very sensitive to natural disasters due to its geographical location, land characteristics, abundance of rivers, and monsoon climate. Due to these factors in Bangladesh, floods, cyclones, storm surges, river bank erosion, earthquakes, droughts, saline intrusion, fires, and tsunamis are all common.
The problem of the study was to investigate and determine if there is a relationship between climate change and its impact on the lives of the people of these regions and how they are adapting to this change.
How does climate change affect the lives of the people of coastal areas and what initiatives are helping them to adapt in climate change conditions?
Relevance and Importance of the Research
According to the Bangladesh | FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific | Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (n.d.), Agriculture employs about half of Bangladesh’s population, with more than 70% of the country’s territory dedicated to crop production. Rice, jute, wheat, tea, legumes, oil seeds, vegetables, and fruits are among the major crops grown. Natural disasters have a huge negative impact on cropping, farming and many agricultural activities. Thus, the whole economy of Bangladesh will be affected and under stake if necessary, steps are not taken to combat the impacts of climate change.
Moreover, Climate change refers to the possibility that certain crops might not be cultivated without proper climate orientation. Therefore, it is very crucial that we investigate and find out feasible solutions for these issues.
The research is centered on coastal districts of Bangladesh that are severely affected by climate change and natural disasters almost every year. Data extraction for the Asian Disaster Reduction Center（ADRC), Bangladesh Coastal Zone Management Status and Future Trends, China Dialogue Ocean, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and leading newspapers like The Guardian, DW, The Daily Star, The Daily Prothom Alo, The Financial Express, and other credible sources with updated data drove the analysis of this study. Secondarily, the qualitative study and its pertinent information were obtained from a variety of reputable websites, including The New Humanitarian and United Nations websites.
This paper “Impact of Climate Change on the lives of people of Coastal regions of Bangladesh” is an analysis that examines the impact on the population of these regions, as well as the factors that contribute to it in these coastal regions of a developing country like Bangladesh.
Ahmad (2019) states that coastal risks are increasing as a result of climate change. Bangladesh is one of the countries that is most likely to be harmed by anthropogenic climate change. It is one of Bangladesh’s key coastal threats since it is intricately linked to other natural hazards. A one-meter rise in sea level would submerge 18 percent of Bangladesh’s total land area.
Rafe (2022) addressed that Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. There are, however, a number of efforts aimed at assisting local populations, particularly women, in overcoming the effects of climate-related issues. Climate-related natural disasters frequently strike the country’s southern coastline region, which is home to about 30 million people, displacing hundreds of thousands of people and flooding enormous swaths of land.
Hossain and Rahaman (2021) stated that Climate change has a particularly negative impact on women. Small-scale agriculture, cattle, poultry rearing, and handicrafts are the main sources of income for women in these areas. Women from low-income households have been struck particularly hard by climate-related concerns affecting agriculture. More climate displacements occurred in Bangladesh each year as a result of severe river erosion, cyclonic disasters, and saline intrusion. Following natural disasters, women are increasingly being victims of assault.
Siddique (2021) mentioned that Commercial shrimp farming has provided Bangladesh with short-term economic benefits for nearly 50 years. However, it is currently proving deadly for communities and the environment when paired with the effects of climate change. Sea level rise in Bangladesh implies not just the loss of land, but also the loss of livelihoods as saltwater infiltrates streams and bodies of water that once supported crops, livestock, and people. Climate change exacerbates the negative effects of industrial aquaculture. Shrimp farms have improved seawater penetration throughout the years.
For the changing climate of coastal regions, there are lots of strategies taken by the authorities where migration is popular, but the migration process of women is different. Ayeb et.al. (2006) This devastation has taken away all of the opportunities to work in the coastal area as this area is not more gender friendly for women (Kamal,2013). Not providing food in time or unable to collect food, they are physically assaulted by their men Habiba et. al. (2014). Male people of the family leave the coast but they never have good communication Sharmin and Islam (2013) and after that, women start to migrate to different parts of Bangladesh. Besides, some of them give their whole earnings to local dalal (fake manpower agency) to migrate into a middle east country to earn more.
Because of the changing ecosystem of Bangladesh coastal region, residents of that area are facing several health issues. Food shortages have begun as a result of crop stagnation, according to Ayeb et al. (2006). Because of the salinity in the land, farmers are unable to rescue their crops from it. Women and girls who have reproductive health faced menstrual problem Sharmin and Islam (2013) as water bodies are unsafe. Besides children facing diarrhea, malaria and pneumonia for not having safe water. Skin diseases are also a major issue which faces every gender and every aged person.
Analysis and Result Interpretation
In this study, we investigated whether there is a link between climate change and the lives of individuals in these locations, as well as how they are responding to this change.
Despite the fact that violence against women is a violation of basic human rights, we continue to see various forms of gender-based violence all throughout the world. The prevalence of gender-based violence in Bangladesh is due to deeply ingrained societal standards, social stigma, religious extremism, and patriarchal society. Hossain and Rahaman (2021)
Frequently, daily-wage workers face the burden of these tragedies, with many of them losing their sources of income. Intense and frequent flooding, excessive rainfall, tidal surges, and water salinity have all harmed agricultural output in recent years, impacting farm laborers, who make up around 60% of the country’s workforce and 70% of the rural poor. Rafe (2022)
Irfanullah (2021) stated that a proposal highlighted mangrove-shrimp culture, seaweed cultivation, floating gardening, aqua-geoponics, and vertical farming as ways to establish climate-resilient and nature-based agriculture and fisheries supply and value chains.
To overall analysis, it is clearly observed that climate change does not only affect the financial capability of the people of these areas, they also lead to severe violence against Women. As we have seen, Women of these areas have been facing severe consequences of climate change. Rising export business like Shrimp Industry is also under risk due to Climate Change.
Therefore, we can conclude that there is a positive correlation between Climate change and its negative impact on the lives of the people in these coastal areas. Moreover, it is to be mentioned that losses do not only include financial but also raises mental health issues like violence against women and mental depression.
Climate change has been more than a curse for the poor families of Bangladesh living in coastal areas of Bangladesh. In research from Thomson Reuters Foundation (2021) it has been found that according to academics, as climate change disasters and losses become more common around the world, the poor people have to pay for the consequences for many years. Moreover, according to a study conducted by IIED, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Britain’s Kingston University, rural communities in Bangladesh spend 158 billion taka (almost $2 billion) per year to repair or avert climatic harm.
Hurricane Amphan had gusts of 151 kilometers per hour and flooded a fourth of Satkhira, the UN’s worst-affected district. Two-thirds of migrants from south-western Bangladesh migrated because they had to give up farming, according to 2016 research by the University of Jessore. The majority went to cities to work as day laborers, while others worked in agriculture on a seasonal basis.
To conclude, it is very important to realize that necessary measurements are needed to take into account by the Government of Bangladesh to help the people of the coastal regions to tackle and survive in the situation of climate change. It is even more crucial to find out what necessary steps can be taken to address the issues of mental health of the people post disaster.
Climate change is an alarming issue that needs to be addressed with highest priority. We strongly believe that it is very crucial when it comes to the point where lives are affected. Every year, thousands of families in these areas get affected by the harsh reality of climate change. It is high time we start thinking about alternative solutions rather than only giving reliefs and financial support.
We have to ensure proper medical facilities in these regions at any cost. Availability of doctors, nurses and medical assistants need to be increased from now. Moreover, it is with great concern that the research has clearly indicated that Climate Change is also related to and is also a factor of rising violence against Women. So, it is important to raise awareness against these domestic violence issues, otherwise this might lead to more negative impacts in the society.
Furthermore, as we saw in this research, Climate Change is affecting the Shrimp industry, which is a growing industry and contributes to the overall GDP of Bangladesh. So, we have to take immediate actions to save our industries as a huge employment is associated with this sector. If we can minimize the impacts of climate change, this will benefit the industries and create more employment opportunities in the long run.
Therefore, if we all can ensure environmental safety for the people and business, eventually we can make this world a better place to live in.
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