Mar 28, 2014

Bangladesh To Be First Underwater

by Tahseen Chowdhury

Climate Change and Global Warming have been words that have been thrown around for the past few years. By now everyone has at least heard of it, but a quick explanation can't hurt. Today we have all these cars and factories around the world, releasing waste that should never be released into the air. However, it all started millions of years ago when dinosaurs  roamed the earth. These dinosaurs died, and basically deteriorated to the point they turned into oil miles below earths surface. Ancient plants died, and deteriorated into what we now call coal. Someone realized that we can burn oil and coal, and release energy and harness it in order to say cook. Someone later used a similar technique to make an appliance powered by coal or oil. The technology turned into a ladder, and slowly grew into cars and trucks that are used daily. What occurs when we burn oil is there is a chemical change and it releases heat that we use as energy. There is also another thing released, and those are greenhouse gases. The most common example would be Carbon Dioxide. So how is that such a bad thing? Carbon Dioxide is like a really smart blanket. When Carbon Dioxide gets into the atmosphere is allows heat and sunlight to come in, but it doesn't let the sunlight and heat leave, thus warming the entire globe. How does that affect sea level? As the earth warms up, glaciers at the ice caps in the polar regions begin to melt, and they begin to make the oceans rise.

  My family is entirely from Bangladesh, and I'm a Bangladeshi-American. The issues that Bangladesh is confronting is extremely scary to watch and read about. First off, Bangladesh is in an area of monsoons, giving extremely deadly weather at times. Bangladesh also has almost a U/V shape at the ends. That drives all hurricanes (they call it typhoons) right into Bangladesh. Additionally, when you look at the geologic history of Bangladesh, you'll notice that Bangladesh had been underwater for most of the time the earth existed. In fact, every year, roughly half of Bangladesh is under sea level at least once. Another issue is that all the rivers in Bangladesh are completely polluted. It's not even their fault, as countries such as India that are becoming industrialized are polluting the waters and it flows into Bangladesh. Now they don't have any more drinkable water, so the majority of their water is ground water. As we take away water from the ground, the ground's elevation decreases. In one way, the water level is rising, and the other way, the elevation is decreasing. 

Why is this such a serious matter right now? Well it's estimated that Bangladesh will mostly be under water within the next century or so. It's so serious that only 20 centimeters more or water could push 10 million people out of their homes. When we think of global warming and water levels rising, we see small islands going under water. Bangladesh is no small island. Bangladesh is what 154.7 million people call home. It's also the 8th largest population in the world. To put that into proportion, Bangladesh is the size of the state of Iowa. It's also half the population of the United States. Bangladesh has a population density of 2559.9 people per mile, holding 12th place for most dense country in the world. A mile has about 5,000 feet, and that would mean each person that lives in Bangladesh literally only has 2 feet of space. If water replaces that, where will they go? They have no where to go.

It's sad that Bangladesh had nothing to do with this, yet they must face the consequences. Bangladesh is in no way industrialized. They barely contributed to the issues of Global Warming and Climate Change. They also barely have any wealth, so building solutions is extremely hard. Additionally, airlines and travel agency's are using what's occurring to Bangladesh as a selling point. Aol's Gadling says, "As with many recent postings, all this is to say visit Bangladesh soon, lest it be under water by the time you get around to it." It's absolutely ridiculous what people are doing. I hope you've realized that it is no longer just small islands and a few people being misplaced. It's a nation, and millions of people being misplaced.

Aol's Gadling
New York Times

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