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Polar ice and glaciers are melting in the Antarctic, the Arctic, the Himalayas and other ice-covered region across the globe. Should Bangladesh be concerned about this trend in faraway lands?

A number of adverse impacts on Bangladesh suggest there are enough reasons to worry.

The melting of polar ice and glaciers in ice-covered regions across the globe is the principal reason behind the global ‘sea-level rise’. Together with the increasing trend of deforestation, urbanisation and industrialisation throughout the world, the ‘rising sea-level’ is one of the major reasons behind the intensifying climate disasters in low-lying countries, such as Bangladesh.

Indeed, the continuous ‘sea-level rise’ has serious implications for Bangladesh, with the likelihood of submerging 6 to 8 per cent of the ‘flood-prone’ country by 2030. [1]

Among the ice-covered regions, it is the Arctic region that is warming faster than other areas across the globe – largely due to growing competition with regard to militarisation and/or exploitation of energy resources. Moreover, polar ice and glaciers have been melting in the Antarctic, the Himalayas and other ice-covered regions too due to various reasons, including extreme and disproportionate extent of tourism.

The apparent and direct result of the melting is that these ice and glaciers turn into water. The water consequently spreads in the seas and oceans of the world, raising eventually the sea-level globally with every passing day. Due to this trend of rising sea-level, countries with low-lying landscape – such as Bangladesh – become prone to two types of unpleasant disasters: (i) intensified floods and (ii) super storms.

Although the heavy monsoon remains the major cause of flooding in Bangladesh, the ‘rising sea level’ – caused by melting of polar ice and glaciers in Arctic, Antarctic, Himalayas and elsewhere – contributes heavily to such flooding.

Bangladesh had experienced flood four times in 2017 alone. People in the flood-affected areas of the country have been suffering seriously. Their livelihood has come to standstill. Their sources of income have worn out. Their daily necessities are rarely met. Hunger, diseases, deaths rattle people in the affected areas. There is scarcity of drinking water too.

Most of the population in the flood affected areas lives on agriculture and poultry. The facts that farmland crops and domestic animals – the major sources of income in the affected areas – are lost to the flood water added to their already vulnerable condition.

Besides facing the adverse consequences brought by the floods, Bangladesh is faced with a new climate reality: the possibilities of being hit by super storms.

Storms give frequent visits to the coastal areas located in the global south, including the Bangladeshi coasts. These storms leave behind incalculable devastation in the affected areas. With the continuous rise in sea-level, the intensity of the devastation bought by such storms increases too.

The rising sea-level means higher (than regular) flow of water into the coasts brought by the waves from the seas and oceans. The worst impact of this greater flow of water could be experienced when the ‘super storms’ hit the coastal landmass. The higher flow of water brought by the super storms could lead to a sort of devastation similar to that of a tsunami.

More broadly speaking, the melting of polar ice and glaciers worldwide leads to the rise in sea-level, which in turn could help bring devastations. Although Bangladesh was never hit by tsunami like mega-disasters, the rising sea-level has increased the possibility.

Thus, it is apparent that the rise in sea-level due to the melting of polar ice and glaciers has been making the inhabitants of low-lying countries across the globe vulnerable to floods, super storms and tsunami-like mega-disasters.

Before it is too late, the vulnerable countries – including Bangladesh – should put forward a united effort to strongly opposing all the activities (including excessive tourism, exploitation of energy resources and growing militarisation) that lead to the melting of polar ice and glaciers in Arctic, Antarctic, Himalayas and elsewhere.

Such a united effort, to a large extent, could ensure that millions of inhabitants living in the low-lying areas – including those of Bangladesh – do not have to embrace the fate of becoming climate refugees.

 

References: 

[1] UK Department for International Development

Bahauddin Foizeeis an international affairs columnist, and regularly writes on environment, geopolitics, law and the refugee scenario.

3 Responses to “Should Bangladesh worry of melting ice in faraway lands?”

  1. Dr A Rahman

    The article is disappointing, as the writer seems to have apportioned most of the blame, if not all, of climatic change on melting of polar ice caps. The melting of polar ice caps is the consequence, not the cause. The cause is global warming, which arises from excessive emission of carbon dioxide into atmosphere by human activities. Roughly 35 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year is emitted into atmosphere and there is reduced extraction due to deforestation. The CO2 is the greenhouse gas, which increases global temperature and thereby causes melting of ice caps. The climatic change causes devastating floods, rising sea levels, tornadoes, wide spread desertification etc. All of these things cause human miseries.

    Reply
    • Bahauddin Foizee

      Yes Mr Rahman.

      Indeed, carbon emission causes global warming, which is the major reason for climate change globally. And melting of ice is one of the many consequences of this global warming. I agree this too.

      However, the article is NOT aimed at focusing on implications of ALL the consequences of global warming. The article is aimed at giving an idea of what the melting of ice and glaciers, which is ONE of the consequences (NOT the ONLY consequence) of global warming, brings about.

      The wordings of the article are consciously and carefully used to this end.

      Inviting you to go through the article again whenever your schedule allows you to do so.

      Reply

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