Political Economy of ‘Climate Action Agreements’ In Bangladesh (Part-II) -Shishir Reza
People’s behavior towards environment and nature are altering for a long time. The development term neo-liberalism has fueled this culture aggressively. In general, economic development is intrinsically connected with global warming and climate change. Consequently, assimilation capacities of earth are lessening as of indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources. If fossil fuels were not used for industries and automobiles, the release of CO2 would not have made the environment so hazardously dangerous for living. However, it needs revolutionary change for collective world and resources utilization. In terms of sustainable economy and environmental security, the new leaderships in France, New Zealand and Japan have blown in a fresh air. In their part, try level best to renovate national and regional collision free growth. What we need, just asses the environmental hazards free economic growth and peoples love for nature and surrounding people ecology nexus. The climate action agreements model, in this may lend a hand for collective wellbeing.
Bangladesh is globally known as one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of global warming and climate change. This is due to its geographic location, population explosion, dominants of floodplains, poverty and overwhelming dependence of natural resources (Reza, 2017). Climate change not only affects human development and biodiversity conservation but also poses a threat to human security with increased frequency of extreme weather events – floods, cyclones, draught, earthquake that are degrading our socio-economic conditions. No country and people know this better than Bangladesh, where millions of people are suffering. Scientists predict that, due to tropical cyclones and salinity intrusion into farming lands in coastal areas, environmental refugees will exceed 20 million in coming future. As a result, their demand for land, water, employment and other public services generate conflict with local residents. Through the Bangladesh climate change resilience and trust fund, we may create awareness on climatic impacts of natural resources among even marginal peoples.
Insecurity in Accessing Unadulterated Water:
water security in Bangladesh is decreasing day by day due to the different factors. These factors include industrial pollution; improper use of agro-chemicals; indiscriminate disposal of municipal, industrial and residential wastes enter into the inland water systems, poorly designed drainage and irrigation works, lack of adequate regulatory measures and institutional setup for proper monitoring and control. Asian water development outlook (2016) mentions ? 80% wastes are dumping into river in Bangladesh. Water security index indicates Bangladesh is 44th out of 48 countries. Around 250 industries are discharging chemical pollutants into Buriganga and Sitalakka River. In Dhaka, 25 canals have lost her life out of 43(daily sun, 2017). The same condition has prevailed among different division, City Corporation, district, paurashava, upazila and union level. Other hand, we have standard indicator and value of water quality ordered by Department of Environment (DoE), such pollution control agreements integrate local industries and govt. authorities to resolve environmental insurgencies.
Forest Land Security:
Out of 46,000 acres in Madhupur Sal forest ? 7,800 acres have been given out to commercial plantation; 25,000 acres has given into illegal possession. At hilly forest, tobacco farming is increasing rather than the mainstream farming. About 10 national and international companies are involved in tobacco farming. In 2000, about 300 hectares land was used which has increased 4232 hectares in 2010. Now the farming area is about 10,000 hectares. Also, shrimp farming has increased the rate of land encroachment more than double from 45,596 hectares in 2000 to 96,283 hectares in 2010 at Mangrove forest area (Reza, 2016). Commercial plantation and illegal possession in Sal forest; inappropriate jhumming, stone exploitation, brick fields, Bengali expansionism in hill forest as well as apiculture, shrimp by catching and animals hunting in Mangrove forest ? all issues are swelling a concern about protection of forest biodiversity. Biodiversity and its conservation are very indispensable for human beings or any living organism. Context implies local forest authority for the sake of secured forest land, empower indigenous peoples and take their opinion for ecological, environmental and climatic security.
Air Toxicants and Public Health:
Incidence of air pollution is not an isolated event but is a continuous process as the sources of pollution operate throughout the year. About 98% of cities in the low and middle income countries, like Bangladesh, consisting more than 100,000 populations violate the WHO air quality guidelines. Dhaka is assumed to be one of those cities. Regarding urban air pollutants, the annual mean concentration of fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), 2014; in Bangladesh-89.7, India- 73.6, Afganistan-64.1, Nepal-75.7, Bhutan-39.0 and Srilanka-28.6. In Bangladesh, the level of air pollution is highest in Dhaka followed by Chittagong and Khulna, the two other industrial cities. The concentration of CO, NOx, PM10 and CO2 in Mohakhali is respectively, 2519 ?g/m3, 376 ?g/m3, 547 ?g/m3 and 435 ppm; Farmgate- 7730 ?g/m3, 752 ?g/m3, 289.92 ?g/m3, 590 ppm; Science lab- 5726 ?g/m3, 113 ?g/m3, 169.93 ?g/m3, 500 ppm. Mogbazar- 5726 ?g/m3, 339 ?g/m3, 383.53 ?g/m3, 475 ppm. In Chittagong, the concentration of PM2.5 was 307 in 2012 which is now 371(Financial Express, 2017). Basically, our urban areas are not free from air toxicants. Other hand, people’s perception on toxicants is not clear. Perspective mentions, City Corporation or paurashava through the help of air quality laws and traffic police – jointly work to aware people and pose policy related threats on air pollutant emitters.
Climate Induced Land Ecosystems and Food Security
Climate is not confined to only competing countries or regions. It affects all human beings regardless of race, caste, ethnicity, sex and level of income. It is characterized by increased temperature; alter action in rainfall and seasonal disruption across the globe. True factor is that our heartbeat increases just after hearing a word “war”. Such a war continues in our nature that is defined as climate war. South Asian country Bangladesh is globally known as one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of global warming and climate calamity. It not only affects human development and biodiversity conservation but also poses a threat to human security with increased frequency of extreme weather events – floods, cyclones, draught, earthquake that are degrading our socio-economic conditions. No country and people know this better than Bangladesh, where millions of people are suffering. Sudden severe catastrophic floods and cyclones have intensified and taking place move frequently owing to increased rainfall in the monsoon. This article clarifies the existing research findings to draw an overview of emerging trends and identified areas of impacts on land ecosystem in Bangladesh due to climatic calamities.
One of the most talked about impact of climate change is sea level rise. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IGPCC) informs that, there is strong evidence that global sea level gradually rose in the 20th century and is currently rising at an increased rate, after a period of little change between AD 0 and AD 1900. Sea level is projected to rise at an even greater rate in this century. The two major causes of global sea level rise are thermal expansion of the oceans (water expands as it warms) and the loss of land-based ice due to increased melting. Sea level indicators suggest that global sea level did not change significantly from then until the late 19th century. The instrumental record of modern sea level change shows evidence for onset of sea level rise during the 19th century. Estimates for the 20th century show that global average sea level rose at a rate of about 1.7 mm yr–1. Global sea level is projected to rise during the 21st century at a greater rate than during 1961 to 2003. Under the IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) A1B scenario by the mid-2090s, for instance, global sea level reaches 0.22 to 0.44 m above 1990 levels, and is rising at about 4 mm yr–1. As in the past, sea level change in the future will not be geographically uniform.
According to an estimation of IPCC, using a coarse digital terrain model and global population distribution data, it is estimated that more than 1 million people will be directly affected by sea-level rise in 2050 in each of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta in Bangladesh, the Mekong delta in Vietnam and the Nile delta in Egypt. Damages in flooded areas are largely dependent on the coastal protection level. Based on the existing literature, a paper informs that current sea-level rise trend suggests that 1meter increase in sea level will submerge around 18 percent of the country’s coastal belt. In fact, more than one million people have already lost their homes – 70 percent of these people became landless due to river erosion.
It is inferred that sea-level rise and climate change would displace many from their homelands in the future. The Review mentioned that both sea-level rise and other climate-related changes could submerge one-fifth of the current territory of Bangladesh. At the same time, it is alarming to know that sea level rise has already caused land erosion. The review notes that this has also resulted in increased salinity in coastal areas, and affected biodiversity leading to reduction of food production and fisheries in Bangladesh. It is also noted in different literatures that, river bank erosion in general leads to around 50,000 to 200,000 people homeless. This reflects that any accelerated rate of land or river erosion will only add to this misery.
There is a clear link between climate change and crop loss as revealed by the report of IPCC. Crop simulation modeling studies based on future climate change scenarios indicate that substantial loses are likely in rain-fed wheat in South and South-East Asia. For example, a 0.5°C rise in winter temperature would reduce wheat yield by 0.45 tons per hectare in India. More recent studies suggest a 2 to 5% decrease in yield potential of wheat and maize for a temperature rise of 0.5 to 1.5°C in India. Studies also suggest that a 2°C increase in mean
air temperature could decrease rain-fed rice yield by 5 to 12% in China (Lin et al., 2004). In South Asia, the drop in yields of non-irrigated wheat and rice will be significant for a temperature increase of beyond 2.5°C incurring a loss in farm-level net revenue of between 9% and 25% (Lal, 2007). The net cereal production in South Asian countries is projected to decline at least between 4 to 10% by the end of this century under the most conservative climate change scenario (Lal, 2007). The changes in cereal crop production potential indicate an increasing stress on resources induced by climate change in many developing countries of Asia.
The impacts of climate change on land affects the livelihood of the concerned people in many ways. According to one estimation the impacts of climate change in case of Bangladesh involves 35.8 million (28% of total population) people who vulnerable to climate change induced SLR, Cyclone, Salinity in coastal zone of the country. Among these 72 offshore islands with an area of 4200 km2 falls within the impact zone constituting a population over 3 as extremely vulnerable. Based on this estimation about 18 percent households of the Sundarban impact zone will affect a population who are dependent on Sundarban resources (shrimp fry collectors, honey collectors, golpata collectors, shell/crab collectors and medicinal plant collectors). The impact of climate change will affect around 0.5 million household’s (family members 2.7 million) whose primary income source is fishing (losing working days because of rough weather in the Bay). It should be noted over 160,000 coastal fishermen and estimated 185,000 shrimp fry collectors are involved in marine fisheries.
The same source helps us to estimate the probable impact of climate change on our agriculture and food security. According to this, the combined effects of rising temperatures, higher precipitation, severe flooding, occasional seasonal droughts, and loss of arable land in coastal areas induced by climate change are expected to result in declines in rice production of 3.9 percent each year, or a cumulative total of 80 million tons over 2005–50. Overall, climate change may lead to decrease agricultural GDP by 3.1 percent each year—a cumulative $36 billion in lost value-added over the period 2005–50.
The economic losses increase by threefold to a cumulative $129 billion and as high as $5.1 billion per year under more pessimistic climate scenarios—with economic losses rising in later years. Based on this model, the southern coastal regions and the northwestern regions are expected to experience the largest income declines. IPCC estimates that, in Bangladesh, production of rice and wheat might drop by 8% and 32%, respectively, by the year 2050.
Climatic Calamities and Rising Inequality among Urban Poor
Climate change – variation game of humidity, temperature and rainfall is likely to have wide ranging severe health consequences. It is imperative to tell apart ‘climate and health’ relationships. Climate inconsistency occurs on many time scales. Weather events transpire at daily time scale and are allied with several health impacts. Some health impacts are from direct-acting effects (heat wave related deaths, weather deaths); others are from disturbances of complex ecological processes (changes in patterns of infectious disease, freshwater supplies and food production). Unsurprisingly, urban poor are most awful sufferer’s climate alteration.
Urban area is a composite of different subsystems of physical structures and human activities all having links with one another. Intended and unintended human activities taking place within the urban area have profound impacts both within and exterior it. The degradation in the quality of the urban environment is the consequence of economic activities, which may affect the environment, sanitation security and public health either directly or indirectly.
Intensification in the urban population of Bangladesh is more or less centered on the three metropolitan areas of Dhaka, Chittagong and Khulna through rural to urban migration which is currently 55% of total migration. Everyday – due mainly to rural-push migration – thousands of people are migrating to the cities from their rural inhabitants and a huge number of them are heading towards the cities either being destitute by landlessness, impoverisation, employment contraction among poor and marginalized, floods, cyclones, river erosion, droughts or being stricken by poverty. Dhaka density stands at an astounding 49,182 per sq. km and Chittagong 16,613 sq. km. UN report, 2016 has mentioned the urban Population Status in Bangladesh: it was 23.8% in 2000; 30.4 % in 2010 and 2016 it is now 34.9%. Day by day it is escalating. It can be 38% of the total population by the year of 2020. Economically affected, socially excluded and environmentally displaced people will join in urban area as beggar, hotel worker, porters, day laborers, maid servant, rickshaw puller, petty traders etc. It has been estimated that urban population in Bangladesh will rise to between 91 and 102 million by 2050 which will be 44% of total population.
In general, urban poor lives at slums, squatter and low income settlements. As city life is very expensive to fulfill the basic needs, these poor people are bound to search for a dwelling place at the city slums and those who cannot even afford to live in a slum dwelling are living on streets or pavements, in parks, bus or railway stations or other public infrastructures. They are experiencing with kutcha, jhupri, non-sanitary latrine, unhygienic garbage disposal and impure water supply. No sanitation is safe when covered by flood waters, as fecal matter mixes with flood waters and spread everywhere the flood water goes. Dhaka ? which has piped sewage network, 2% only of fecal load is treated.
Human faeces management and dumping is a major challenge in our urban area. The concern is financing required for proper management and disposal of human wastes.
The step up of health of urban poor is not possible without sanitary disposal of human excreta. There are some Problems of groundwater development in Bangladesh ? arsenic in groundwater, excessive dissolved iron, Salinity intrusion in coastal areas, water table is lowering due to over-exploitation of groundwater for irrigation and intensive cropping.
Survey around 6000 households (UNICEF Report, 2015) implies, in urban poor areas among the latrines, pit latrine with slab without lid and water-seal is the major one -53%. Pit latrine with slab and water-seal is 13%. Pit latrine with slab without water-seal is 5.9%. Pit latrine with slab and flap without water-seal is 8.1%. Latrine without slab or open pit latrine is 7.3%. Latrine connected with open drain with flush or pouring water is 5 %. Flush latrine connected to septic tank is 3.1%. Use of hanging latrines is 3.1%. Pit latrine with ventilation system 1.4%. The conditions of urban poor are so miserable.
In reality, human health depends on an adequate supply of potable water. By reducing fresh water supplies, climate change affects sanitation and lowers the efficiency of local sewer systems, leading to amplify concentrations of pathogens in unprocessed water supplies. In addition, climate alteration reduces the water availability for drinking and washing. The unforeseen increase in extreme rainfall events, which is associated with the outbreaks of diarrheal disease ? may overwhelm the public water supply system.
The ecology and transmission dynamics of vector borne disease are complex. Climate change impacts models suggest that the leading changes in the potential for disease transmission will occur at the fringes in terms of both latitude and longitude of the malaria risk areas. Vector borne diseases are transmitted by insects ? mosquitoes and ticks that are sensitive to temperature, humidity and rainfall. High temperature manipulates the reproduction and survival of the infective agent within the vector, thereby further influencing disease diffusion in areas where the vector is previously present. Numerous diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes (chikungunia, dengue, and yellow fever), sand flies (leishmaniasis) and ticks (Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis) may also be amplified by climate alteration. The poor who are environmentally or agriculturally displaced, live in urban areas have no capacity, education, financial aptitude to fight against climate induced health insecurity.
In this standpoint, some effective steps can be taken: measures to resolve environmental hazards; provision of safe water and planning for preservation; improvement of health care services; practical and functioning urban poverty alleviation programs; improvement in the public utilities services and their equitable distribution; improving the condition of urban squatter settlements. For sustainable health of urban poor, application of education on primary health care, environment, sanitation, climatic insurgencies among them can play key role.
To appraise the prospective impacts of climate change on health, it is indispensable to reflect on both the sensitivity and vulnerability of population dynamics for explicit health outcomes. Apart from that, to reduce vulnerability is to develop waste management systems and supply potable water among poor communities of urban area.
Climate Action Agreements: Capacities of Local Government
The concept of ‘local governance’ explicates the tasks as done by local government institutions in both developing and developed countries where collective public welfare is the leading concern. Locally the role of local government is very much important for sustainable environment. At the sub-national level, local institutions reproduce enormous differences in history, culture, environment, capacity, infrastructure and practices. There are two main components of a local governance system: a) prudence allowed to the local government to perform fundamental functions that allow them to represent the preferences of the citizens in decision making process, b) mechanisms that hold the local government accountable for appropriate use of this carefulness. To address the global climatic threats, locally resolve the natural or man-made crisis are urgent to go ahead.
Climate Financing to Adaptive and Resilient Bangladesh
Climate is not confined to only competing countries or regions. It affects all human beings regardless of race, caste, ethnicity, sex and level of income. It is characterized by increased temperature; alter action in rainfall and seasonal disruption across the globe. It is true that our heartbeat increases just after hearing a word “war”. Such a war continues in our nature that is defined as climate war.
Bangladesh is globally known as one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of global warming and climate change. This is due to its geographic location, population explosion, dominants of floodplains, incidences of poverty and overwhelming dependence of natural resources. Global warming is a result of climate change will reduce the food productivity, availability of fresh water, increase environmental hazards, energy conflict, mass migration and increase diseases – malaria, diarrhea, chikungunia and AIDS. Climate change not only affects human development and biodiversity conservation but also poses a threat to human security with increased frequency of extreme weather events – floods, cyclones, draught, earthquake that are degrading our socio-economic conditions. No country and people know this better than Bangladesh, where millions of people are suffering. Sudden severe catastrophic floods and cyclones have intensified and taking place move frequently owing to increased rainfall in the monsoon.
As the sea level is rising, Bangladesh has experienced severe impacts of coastal
inundation and erosion, cyclones, salinity intrusion, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, agricultural land shrinking and large scale migration. Any expansion of human settlements would mean encroachment into valuable agricultural or forest lands. Both of these are already under stress. Bangladesh has a high percentage of landless agricultural population. Every year this number is increasing as villages after villages are lost by riverbank erosion. These environmentally displaced people have no place to go to. Some build homesteads along embankments whilst others migrate to urban areas in search of jobs which are not available.
Loss of coastal land to the sea in the vulnerable zone is currently predicted to reach up to 5% by 2030, 7% by 2050 and 15% by 2080. Scientists predict that, due to tropical cyclones and salinity intrusion into farming lands in coastal areas, environmental refugees will exceed 20 million in coming future. As a result, their demand for land, water, employment and other public services generate conflict with local residents.
Flood control and drainage projects in the coastal areas are also at risk. Coastal polders will be totally inundated. Some redesigning may be required so that the embankments are able to withstand the increased hydrostatic pressure. Drainage efficiency of the sluice gates will also be reduced as the water level outside the polders rises. Basically, uninterrupted coastlines, structural and non-structural disaster mitigation and adaptation policies, public planning and resource allocation processes can lend a hand to protect Bangladesh against the impacts of climate change.
Government can analyze the community risks and ensure the public participation to make their plans, programs, projects, where both public and private resources need to be allocated to the risk areas so that climate change affected people may secure their means and livelihood assets. The bottom up planning to reduce the risk of people and accordingly public resource allocation in the upcoming budget (FY 2017-18) can enhance their access to resources. Some foreign and local alliance – world health organization, intergovernmental panel on climate change, Bangladesh poribesh andolon, Bangladesh environment network, Bangladesh environmental lawyers association believe that climate change cannot be mitigated through discussions. To reduce the climatic impacts, we have to take financial initiatives and share technology for adaptation with increase mass awareness to reduce carbon use.
We can apply the climate action agreements strategy to make the hand strong of local government in terms of environmental planning and management – water, air, land, canal and river security. Also, we can be in charge of excessive noise at urban and semi-urban areas. Consequently, we can initiate a culture to effective control and monitor of environmental pollution and polluters-pay.
By bringing greater fluctuations in crop yields, local food supplies and higher risks of landslides and erosion damage, can adversely affect the stability of food security. There are some policy related guidelines which can help to take decision to improve rice production in Bangladesh. Different studies are needed to assess the impacts of climate change; develop a flood level and risk map based on future projected climatic parameters; zoning of flood plain depends on various level of vulnerability; develop climate resilient cropping patterns suited to different regions of the country depends on monsoon flooding; assess the drainage capacity of all river and canal to investigate structural and nonstructural causes of water logging within the catchment area; develop early warning system and trained the helpless people to reduce the vulnerability.
The author is an Environmental Analyst & Associate Member, Bangladesh Economic Association