Sea Level Rise Threatens The Sunderbans
07 January, 2013
Sea level rise threatens the Sunderbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest spread across India and Bangladesh.
A Kolkata, Jan 6, 2013 datelined news* said:
The rise in sea levels around the Sundarbans delta is a cause of concern, said Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Director-General of TERI (Tata Energy and Resources Institute).
“We have to be worried about the rise in sea levels in Sundarbans,” Pachauri told newspersons on the sidelines of a session organized by the Indian Science Congress in Kolkata on January 6, 2013.
Researchers of the School of Oceanographic Studies, Jadavpur University, estimate that sea levels rose from 3.14 millimeters annually (recorded until the year 2,000) to about 8 mm by 2010.
The delta consists of 102 low-lying islands of which 48 are inhabited.
Nearly four million people in the Sundarbans coexist with 26 species of true mangroves, 234 species of birds and 47 species of mammals, including the Royal Bengal tiger.
Experts point out that the islands and its ecosystem, including the community, are severely stressed over availability of natural resources and are highly vulnerable to changes in climate.
Climate change is leading to increased salinity and higher tidal surges, permanent submergence of land masses, experts note.
Reports suggest that in the past two decades, four islands (Bedford, Lohachara, Kabasgadi and Suparibhanga) have been submerged with 6,000 families being rendered homeless.
This apart, scientists from the University of Calcutta and Jadavpur University have predicted that one of the largest islands (Sagar islands) will lose at least 15 per cent of its habitat area by 2020.
Pachauri highlighted the need to strengthen mangrove plantations in the region to help address the issues.
According to him, dykes need to be set up at Sundarbans. Dykes are natural or artificial slopes or walls to regulate water levels.
“It is one of the most important things for maintaining biodiversity. This (setting up of dykes) model is pretty successful in the Netherlands,” he said.
* The Hindu Business Line, “Rise in sea level threatening Sundarbans, says Pachauri”, http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/science/rise-in-sea-levels-in-sunderbans-cause-of-concern/article4279603.ece
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