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Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asia, Particularly Bangladesh

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South Asia covers diversified climatic zones and experiences an array of climate change impacts. Human pressures together with changing hydrology and land resources have distinct impact on the production of food grain and resilience of ecosystems. The most threatened areas are grasslands and mountain forest ecosystems of the Himalayas and ecosystems of the Sundarbans. Forests of South Asia having most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet are destroyed due to rapid deforestation and urbanization. Moreover, the South Asia partake the worst air pollution in the world, and it is maximum in India. Thar Desert is extending at a rate of 100 ha per year which may cause damage to approximately 13,000 ha of cultivated lands and pastures in India and Pakistan. Availability of freshwater is highly seasonal in this region, and water supplies become more threatened by higher temperatures, changes in river regimes, and greater incidence of coastal flooding. This article discusses major environmental issues faced by the South Asian people particularly Bangladesh and the resultant problems encountered by majority of people. Major environmental issues discussed here are climate change, geophysical setting, ecosystem changes, overgrazing, import of hazardous wastes, deforestation, desertification, pollution, population pressure, collapse and pollution of land resources, water resources and lack of potable water, biodiversity loss, food security risks, depletion of energy resources, and degradation of river and marine resources. Different problems created by mentioned environmental issues like biodiversity loss, impacts to the marine environment, atmospheric pollution, deficient urban structure, water scarcity and degradation, soil erosion and land degradation, natural disaster, pests, and diseases have been depicted in this chapter. Some recommendations have also been provided on the basis of major environmental issues identified and resultant problems.
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Major Environmental Issues and Problems
of South Asia, Particularly Bangladesh
G. N. Tanjina Hasnat, Md. Alamgir Kabir, and Md. Akhter Hossain
Contents
Introduction ....................................................................................... 3
Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asian Countries .. . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 4
Climate Change .. . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . 4
Climatic Events .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Geophysical Setting ........................................................................... 5
Glacier Melt and Sea Level Rise .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ......................................... 6
Land Degradation.................. ................................................ ........... 6
Water Scarcity . ................................................................................ 6
Ecosystems and Biodiversity Loss .. . ........................................................ 7
Pollution ....................................................................................... 7
Import of Hazardous Wastes in South Asia . ................................................. 7
Country Basis Environmental Issues, Causes, Vulnerable Areas, and Overall Impacts . . ...... 8
Afghanistan .................................................................................... 8
Bhutan . . . ...................................................................................... 8
India .................................... .............................................. ......... 9
Maldives . . ..................................................................................... 9
Nepal ............................... ......................................... .................. 9
G. N. T. Hasnat (*)
Department of Land Administration, Faculty of Land Management and Administration, Patuakhali
Science and Technology University, Dumki, Patuakhali, Bangladesh
e-mail: gnthasnat@gmail.com
M. A. Kabir
Department of Agroforestry, Patuakhali Science and Technology University,
Dumki, Patuakhali, Bangladesh
e-mail: alamgirmk@gmail.com
M. A. Hossain
Institute of Forestry and Environmental Sciences Chittagong University, University of Chittagong,
Chittagong, Bangladesh
e-mail: akhter.hossain@cu.ac.bd
#Springer International Publishing AG 2018
C. M. Hussain (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Materials Management,
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-58538-3_7-1
1
Pakistan ........................................................................................ 9
Sri Lanka................... .................................................... ............... 10
Bangladesh ..................................... ............................................... 12
Conclusion and Recommendations ............................................................... 33
Cross-References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . 33
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Abstract
South Asia covers diversied climatic zones and experiences an array of climate
change impacts. Human pressures together with changing hydrology and land
resources have distinct impact on the production of food grain and resilience of
ecosystems. The most threatened areas are grasslands and mountain forest eco-
systems of the Himalayas and ecosystems of the Sundarbans. Forests of South
Asia having most biologically diverse ecosystems on the planet are destroyed due
to rapid deforestation and urbanization. Moreover, the South Asia partake the
worst air pollution in the world, and it is maximum in India. Thar Desert is
extending at a rate of 100 ha per year which may cause damage to approximately
13,000 ha of cultivated lands and pastures in India and Pakistan. Availability of
freshwater is highly seasonal in this region, and water supplies become more
threatened by higher temperatures, changes in river regimes, and greater inci-
dence of coastal ooding. This article discusses major environmental issues faced
by the South Asian people particularly Bangladesh and the resultant problems
encountered by majority of people. Major environmental issues discussed here
are climate change, geophysical setting, ecosystem changes, overgrazing, import
of hazardous wastes, deforestation, desertication, pollution, population pressure,
collapse and pollution of land resources, water resources and lack of potable
water, biodiversity loss, food security risks, depletion of energy resources, and
degradation of river and marine resources. Different problems created by men-
tioned environmental issues like biodiversity loss, impacts to the marine envi-
ronment, atmospheric pollution, decient urban structure, water scarcity and
degradation, soil erosion and land degradation, natural disaster, pests, and dis-
eases have been depicted in this chapter. Some recommendations have also been
provided on the basis of major environmental issues identied and resultant
problems.
Keywords
Afghanistan · Agrochemicals · Arsenic · Bangladesh · Bhutan · Biodiversity ·
Brickeld · Climate change · Cyclone · Deforestation · Desertication · Disease ·
Drought · Ecosystem · Exotic · Flash ood · Forest re · Glacial melt · Global
warming · Greenhouse gas · India · Industrialization · Invasion · Land
degradation · Landslide · Lightning · Livelihood · Nepal · Pakistan · Pollution ·
Population pressure · Salinity · Sea level rise · Sedimentation · Shrimp
cultivation · Soil erosion · Sri Lanka · Sundarbans · Urbanization · Vulnerability ·
Waste · Water scarcity
2 G. N. T. Hasnat et al.
Introduction
South Asia is the large unique landmass representing the southern region of the
Asian continent. The South Asia comprises of eight countries Bangladesh, India,
Nepal, Pakistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan (Sivakumar and
Stefanski 2010). The total area of South Asia covers almost 5.1 million km
2
(1.9
million mi
2
), and this is 11.51% of the Asian continent. The land mass of this region
gives a ground for near 1.749 billion people that covers about one fourth of the
worlds population (SACEP 2016). South Asia is not only the most populated region
in the world but also densely populated (South Asia Regional Overview 2008).
The physiography of South Asia region ranges from the northern mountains to
southern plateaus. The landforms distributed from the worlds highest magnicent
Himalayas with nearly two dozen peaks rising to 24,000 ft or above of Bhutan and
Nepal to the lowest, the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea
beaches. The physical landscape of this region is also demonstrated with the fertile
delta of Bangladesh, peninsula of India, and jewel-like islands of Sri Lanka and
Maldives in the Indian Ocean.
The South Asia is ecologically more valuable area in the world because of its
diversied natural resources and ecosystems. The total forest area of South Asia
covers 2.73% of worlds forests and provides a shelter for approximately 15.5%
ora and 12% fauna of the world. The oral diversity comprises 39,875 species of
owering plants, 66 conifers and cycads, and 764 ferns. Faunal diversity is wide-
ranging with 933 species of mammals, 4494 birds, 923 reptiles, 332 amphibians, and
342 freshwater shes. Only the Hindu Kush Himalayan belt was embracing a home
to a number of 25,000 major plant species that covers 10% of the worlds total ora.
In addition, India contains extensive savannah and forest habitats that provide spaces
for many endemic species having international importance. Sri Lanka is also one of
the most biologically diversied countries in the world. South Asia is the home of
around 14% of the worlds mangrove habitat. Moreover highest percentage of
threatened wetlands are in here, 82 of which are in Bangladesh.
The climate types of South Asia are quite difcult to understand and describe.
About half of the climatic zones that exist on the earth can be found in South Asia.
Though the climatic condition is quite different and varies considerably from area to
area as of tropical monsoon in the south to temperate in the north, several distinct
zones appeared here quite clearly. The total area is broadly separated into six main
climate zones. The highland zone has the coldest climate. This area covers the
Himalayas and other northern mountains. Snow exists here in all the year-round.
Another one is the humid subtropical zone,much warmer than the highland zone.
This zone includes the lower elevations and encompasses the deluxe slopes and
valleys of Nepal, Bhutan, and northern India and the Indo-Gangetic Plain.
The semiarid zone is a region of high temperatures and light rainfall. This type of
region is generally found at the western end of the Plain and in parts of the Deccan
Plateau. The other zone is the desert zone, and it covers much of the lower Indus
Valley in the borderlands of Western India and Southern Pakistan. The Thar Desert is
located in this region and is the driest part of this area with an average 10 in. annual
Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asia, Particularly... 3
rainfall. The tropical wet zone is found along the western and eastern coasts of India
and in Bangladesh. Temperatures are comparatively high, and rainfall is heavy in
this zone and has recorded a worlds record of 366 in. in a month. The sixth one is
tropical wet and dry zone. In Sri Lanka the southern part has a tropical wet climate,
while the northern part reveals a tropical wet and dry climatic zone.
The variety in climatic conditions of South Asia mainly is inuenced by three
bases the altitude, vicinity to the seacoast, and the seasonal impact of the mon-
soons. Literary monsoon means seasonal winds that bring alternating periods of wet
and dry weather. During summer season winds blow from the sea and bring
moisture, called wet monsoon period. But, in the winter season winds blow out
from the center of the region toward the sea and bear much less moisture. This period
is dry monsoon period. The climate of South Asia is inuenced by the monsoon
patterns. The southern parts are near to the seacoast, so its mostly hot in summer and
receive rain during monsoon periods. The northern belt of Indo-Gangetic Plains gets
both the seasonal warm air from the seacoast and the cold air of Himalayas. The
mountainous north is colder and receives snowfall at higher altitudes of Himalayan
ranges.
Although monsoons are crucial for South Asia, it causes severe suffering for
millions of people, especially in the lowlands of Bangladesh and India. Monsoons
are highly unpredictable, and recent years abnormal monsoon patterns generate more
frequent and intensive natural disasters as well as climate change.
Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asian
Countries
Having diversied climatic zones along with its physical landscape, the region
experiences a huge range of climate change impacts, for example glacial melt,
sea level rise, soil erosion, saline water intrusion, etc. The key environmental issues
in broad aspect which are a great threat to the sustainable development of South Asia
are discussed below.
Climate Change
Climate change is the mother of all climatic hazards and extreme weather events,
such as heat waves, heavy rainfall and droughts, etc. (WHO 2015). Climate change
is drastic variations and shifts of weather conditions (moisture, cloudiness, precip-
itation) from warm and moist climate to cool climate due to external or in internal
factors over different time scales (Singh 2009).
The main cause of climate change in South Asia is the increase in concentration of
greenhouse gases (GHGs). The concentration of one of the major GHGs, carbon
dioxide (CO
2
), has been constantly increased in South Asia due to rapid industrial-
ization and other anthropogenic activities. India and Pakistan are the major contrib-
utors of CO
2
emissions in this region, while, in terms of per capita emissions,
4 G. N. T. Hasnat et al.
Maldives is the highest contributor. This changing climate is manifested in the form
of global warming, changing rainfall patterns, melting of glaciers, sea level rise, and
increase in the frequency and intensity of cyclones or oods. Since 1950s, the
number of cold days and nights decreased, while number of warm days and nights
increased (IPCC 2014). The geophysical and demographic conditions make the
region more vulnerable to climate change. Impacts of climate change are visible
now in water resources, agriculture, forests, and ecosystems. It is affecting the well-
being of billions of people in the South Asian region.
Climatic Events
The most dangerous climatic event of South Asia is cyclone. Cyclones are most
destructive in low-lying coastal region especially in Bangladesh and India. High
waves slough large coastal parts and cause severe damages and kill thousands of
people. In 1970, a cyclone killed more than 300,000 lives in Bangladesh (BBS
2017). The frequency and intensity of droughts also increased in South Asia
(Webster et al. 1998; PAGASA 2001; Lal 2003). Consecutive droughts in 1999
and 2000 in Pakistan and India steered to a sharp decline in water tables and crop
failures. Longer duration of heat waves was observed in South Asia region, espe-
cially in India (De and Mukhopadhyay 1998). Moreover, the increased frequency of
intensive rainfall events along with some anthropogenic issues causes severe land-
slides, oods, and mudows (Khan et al. 2000; Shrestha et al. 2000; Mirza 2002).
Globally, South Asian countries are most vulnerable in terms of oods (UNDP
2004). Since 19842017, Bangladesh has experienced seven severe oods and more
devastating was in 2007 that affected 10,655,145 people (BBS 2017). In 2005
Mumbai faced more hazardous oods that led to a loss of over 1000 lives, and a
total loss was more than US$250 million (IPCC 2007). In Pakistan, due to oods
almost 2000 people died in 2010 and leaving behind 20 million homeless people
with a loss of $10 billion. Only in Sri Lanka, from 2005 to 2014, the total number of
people affected by oods were 4,626,078. Bhutan was affected by three major oods
in 2009, 2011, and 2013. Landslide is another common event in South Asia. Bhutan
suffered by annual occurrence of landslides (NEC 2008), and in Bangladesh it killed
152 people only in 2017.
Geophysical Setting
The South Asia covers only 4.8% of the worlds land surface area but provides home
for above 24% of the worlds population and growing at an alarming rate of 1.8%
annually (Kakakhel 2012). This demographic coverage of South Asia gives a shelter
for 39.49% of total Asias population.
The South Asia is surrounded by three water bodies the Bay of Bengal, the
Indian Ocean, and the Arabian Sea. Moreover, it has highly varied climate zones
from snowy highlands to sun-scorched deserts. The region is the quay of various
Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asia, Particularly... 5
topographies, for example, glaciers, rainforests, mountains, plateaus, beaches, val-
leys, deserts, savanna, and grasslands.
Climatic condition of South Asia ranges from arctic temperatures that found in
the high mountains to a temperate in the foothills and on the Indo-Gangetic Plain to
tropical environments on the Deccan Plateau. Diversied geophysical settings with
varieties of climatic condition make the region more prone to different types of
environmental issues.
Glacier Melt and Sea Level Rise
There are three main seas in South Asia and are vulnerable to sea level rise. Sea level
rise is a gradual process and aggravated with global warming. The ice mass of the
Himalayas is melting rapidly than the global average rate and creates great threat to
this region. Sea level rise emerged in the Bay of Bengal in 1947, and the rising rate is
1.4 mm and 3.9 mm per year in the southeast and south-central part nearest to the sea
of Bangladesh (MoEF 2012). More than 100 million hectares of arable lands of
Bangladesh are affected due to sea level rise. It is predicted that sea level will rise
45 cm by 2050 and will affect 1015% of the land area and near about 35 million
people. Sea level rise rst appeared in Indian Ocean in 1960s (CDKN 2014) and may
rise up to 1538 cm by 2050. Coast land of Sri Lanka is less than 1 m above sea
level. Average elevation of the Maldivesis 1.5 m above sea level and its highest
point is less than 2 m. About 47% of all dwellings of the country are located at high
risk of sea level rise within 100 m of the coastline, and these are the home of 42% of
total population (Das 2010). The total islands are affected by saline water intrusion,
and a rising tide may submerge the islands easily. The major problems of sea level
rise are saline water intrusion, threatening drinking water supply, agricultural land
degradation, and aquaculture damage.
Land Degradation
Land degradation due to water and wind erosion is a common phenomenon in South
Asia. South Asia has nearly 90 million ha irrigated land that is seriously affected by
water erosion. Irrigated cropland of Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan is severely
affected by salinity-induced water erosion. Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan are
suffering by another type of erosion, wind erosion due to desertication (UNEP
1997a).
Water Scarcity
Many parts of South Asia are suffering from water scarcity. Parts of Afghanistan,
India, and Pakistan are distressed of water shortage due to desertication. Some
6 G. N. T. Hasnat et al.
parts of India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka are facing the problem of lowering of
groundwater table. Maldives is facing depletion of freshwater due to salinity
intrusion. Moreover water pollution (UNEP 1997b) from industrial wastes, agri-
cultural runoff, commercial pesticide, and arsenic contamination decreases usable
water availability.
Ecosystems and Biodiversity Loss
Within South Asian countries, highest rate of deforestation is found in Pakistan.
Deforestation leads to habitat and species loss that tends to ecosystems and biodi-
versity depletion. Mangrove forests in Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka (UNEP
1997b) are also under pressure for shrimp cultivation and salt production.
Pollution
With increasing urbanization and demographic pressure, pollution is becoming a
vital concern in South Asia. Increased industrial activities, vehicles, and brick kilns
increase regional pollution over time, and GHG emission has risen in South Asia by
approximately 3.3% annually since 1990 (Khwaja et al. 2012). India is the highest
air-polluting country in this region followed by Pakistan (Khwaja and Khan 2005).
In Bangladesh air is polluted mainly by vehicular emissions, industrial emission, and
brick kilns. In Bhutan, forest re is the main source for air pollution. In Nepal air
quality is deteriorating with high levels of dangerous pollutants (Khwaja et al. 2012).
In Sri Lanka key source of air pollution are motor vehicles, burning of domestic and
industrial wastages, rewood, etc. (Senarath 2003).
Import of Hazardous Wastes in South Asia
Disposal of industrial waste in environment increases the pollution level in land, air,
and water. The international waste traders always searched for welcoming dumping
grounds in third worlds as waste importer. And South Asia is more recent discovery
by them. Different types of waste such as plastic waste, metal waste, tin waste, iron
waste, lead waste, etc. are imported in South Asia consciously or unconsciously. For
example, in late 1991, four US corporations secretly mixed 1000 t of hazardous
waste containing high levels of lead and cadmium into a shipment of fertilizer which
was imported by Bangladesh, and one third of that toxic fertilizer was applied on
farms (Leonard 1993). In 1992, the South Asian countries imported only 15% of the
US plastic waste. But in 1993, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan imported 53% of
total US plastic waste deliberately (Leonard 1993). These various nondegradable,
slow degradable chemical and hazardous wastes cause environmental degradation
and health hazards too. Banning the international waste trade may be a solution to
Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asia, Particularly... 7
protect the importer countries. But, developing environmentally sustainable produc-
tion processes for every country will be the better solution.
Country Basis Environmental Issues, Causes, Vulnerable Areas,
and Overall Impacts
Afghanistan
Afghanistan is a landlocked country of South Asia with 652,000 km
2
land area. It is a
mountainous and very arid country of South Asia. Agriculture is the primary source
of livelihood. Continuous drought and extensive degradation of its natural and
biophysical resources are stunting its future development and making it more
vulnerable to climate changes (Table 1).
Bhutan
Bhutan is also a landlocked country in South Asia. It is located at the eastern end of
the Himalayas. The country is bordered by China to the north and by India to the
south, east, and west. It contains most abundant forest and water resources. The
country is considered as a sanctuary for biodiversity and a model for environmental
stability. But, now a days, climate change creates many threats to Bhutan. This
country is more susceptible to ash oods and landslides due to accelerated glacier
melt (Table 2).
Table 1 Environmental issues, causes, vulnerable areas, and overall impacts in Afghanistan
Key environmental
issues Main causes Vulnerable areas Impacts
Soil degradation;
deforestation; loss of
biodiversity;
overgrazing;
desertication; soil
erosion; air pollution;
water pollution; food
security risks; natural
disasters such as
earthquakes and
droughts
Population growth;
increased demand for
agricultural lands,
fuelwoods, housing
materials, etc.
Agriculture; water
resources;
ecosystems; natural
calamities; human
health; and social
development
Water scarcity; high
temperature; reduced
precipitation;
increased
evapotranspiration;
vulnerability of
agriculture, wetlands
and ecosystems to
desertication; food
insecurity; duration
and frequency of
drought; ash
ooding from glacial
melt; increasing risk
from malaria;
malnutrition and
migration
8 G. N. T. Hasnat et al.
India
In consideration of area, India is the largest country of South Asia and the seventh
largest country in the world. The vastness of the country provides diverse geograph-
ical settings and varied climatic regimes from humid to arid that makes the land more
vulnerable to the diverse environmental problems (Table 3).
Maldives
Maldives, situated in the Indian Ocean, is an island nation of South Asia which
consists of coral reefs and hundreds of smaller islands. It is the smallest South Asian
country both in population and area. The coral reefs are the seventh largest in the
world and rich in biodiversity and aesthetic value. The country is exposed to the risks
of extreme climatic events, sea level rise, and saline intrusion (Table 4).
Nepal
Nepal is one of the three landlocked countries in South Asia. It is located at the foot
of worlds highest mountains the Himalayas and bordered by China to the north and
India to the south, east, and the west. Its topography ranges from very high altitudes
of the Himalayan Mountain to the Gangetic Plains. Agriculture is the main liveli-
hood option. This country is vulnerable to the climatic events too (Table 5).
Pakistan
Pakistan, the second largest country of South Asia, comprises dry or cold climatic
regimes. It is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the
southwest, and China in the far northeast. Alike climatic zones, geography also
varies across the country. Near 60% of the total watershed area of the Indus basin lies
within Pakistans territory. Main climatic changes found in these areas are glacial
melt, sea level rise, and drought (Table 6).
Table 2 Environmental issues, causes, vulnerable areas, and overall impacts in Bhutan
Key environmental
issues Main causes Vulnerable areas Impacts
Soil erosion; air
pollution; water
pollution; scarcity of
drinking water;
deforestation; solid
waste disposal; climate
change; and glacial melt
Rapid
urbanization
Agriculture; ecosystems
and biodiversity; water
resources; human
health; and natural
calamities
Agricultural yield
reduction; forest area
degradation;
biodiversity and habitat
loss; oods; vector-
borne and waterborne
diseases
Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asia, Particularly... 9
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is also an island country in South Asia and bordered by India and
Maldives. The country is rich with mountainous and coastal biodiversity. Weather
condition of the country is hot and humid. Part of the country experiences long-term
dry spells, and extensive areas suffer from water decit. The country is in tremen-
dous risk by predicted changes in climatic condition in terms of temperature,
frequency and duration of drought, intensity of rainfall and storm surges, and sea
level rise (Table 7).
Table 3 Environmental issues, causes, vulnerable areas, and overall impacts in India
Key environmental
issues Main causes Vulnerable areas Impacts
Deforestation; soil
erosion and land
degradation;
desertication;
overgrazing; loss of
biodiversity; air
pollution; surface
water pollution;
arsenic contamination
in groundwater; forest
and agricultural land-
use change;
demographic
pressure; climate
change; natural
disasters such as
oods, cyclones and
landslides; sea level
rise; glacial melt;
salinity intrusion
Urbanization;
industrial efuents;
emissions from
vehicles and brick
kilns; unmanaged
ecotourism;
agrochemicals;
fossil fuel burning
Agriculture; water
resources; coastal,
terrestrial, and marine
ecosystems; human
health; urban area
Sea level rise;
increase of sea
temperature; frequent
and intensive oods,
cyclones and
droughts; glacial
melting; increased
temperature; changes
in precipitation
patterns; oods;
saline intrusion; heat
waves; water- and
airborne diseases;
decreased agricultural
production;
biodiversity loss; and
impacts on urban
infrastructure,
drainage, sanitation,
etc.
Table 4 Environmental issues, causes, vulnerable areas, and overall impacts in Maldives
Key environmental
issues Main causes Vulnerable areas Impacts
Climate change; sea
level rise; saline water
intrusion; coastal
erosion; groundwater
depletion; marine
biodiversity loss; air and
water pollution; waste
generation; coral reef
bleaching
Demographic
pressure;
marine-based
tourism; sea
level rise
Coral reefs; coastal
and marine
ecosystems; water
resources; disasters
and hazards; tourism;
public health; social
development
Ecosystem damages,
loss of coral reefs;
salinity intrusion in
groundwater; increased
intensity and frequency
of climatic hazards
such as cyclones,
ooding, and
inundation of islands;
diseases; disturbance in
tourism; and migration
10 G. N. T. Hasnat et al.
Table 5 Environmental issues, causes, vulnerable areas, and overall impacts in Nepal
Key environmental
issues Main causes Vulnerable areas Impacts
Deforestation; soil
erosion and
degradation; water
pollution; air
pollution; loss of
biodiversity; waste
generation and
disposal; climate
change; ice cap
melting; natural
disasters
Rapid urbanization;
emissions from motor
vehicles and
industries; increased
demands for timber;
population growth;
lands conversion
Agriculture; water
resources;
terrestrial
ecosystems and
biodiversity;
human health
Increased intensity of
glacier lake outburst
oods due to rapid
glacial melt;
intensied scarcity of
water; outbreaks of
diseases; agricultural
production loss;
glacial melt dependent
ecosystems and
biodiversity loss
Table 6 Environmental issues, causes, vulnerable areas, and overall impacts in Pakistan
Key environmental
issues Main causes Vulnerable areas Impacts
Water pollution;
seasonal scarcity of
freshwater in natural
resources; soil
erosion; coastal
habitat loss;
degradation in marine
ecosystems; natural
disasters,
deforestation;
desertication;
biodiversity loss;
climate change; air
and water pollution
Urbanization;
industrialization;
wastes disposal;
population pressure;
unplanned
ecotourism;
mangroves depletion
for aquaculture;
overshing;
increased demands
for timber and
fuelwoods; hunting
and poaching;
excessive use of
agrochemicals
Agriculture; coastal
zones; marine and
terrestrial
ecosystems; water
resources; land
resources; climatic
events; health and
social development
Increased intensity
and frequency of
drought; coastal
erosion and salinity
intrusion from sea
level rise; increased
natural disasters;
changes of sea and
atmospheric
temperatures; several
ooding and future
drying of water
resources due to
glacial melt; reduced
soil productivity and
fertility, reduced crop
production; food and
water insecurity;
land-use changes;
increased intensity of
drought and
desertication; longer
exposure to water
logging; outbreak of
heat-related and
vector-borne
diseases;
malnutrition;
migration; and
conict
Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asia, Particularly... 11
Bangladesh
Bangladesh, the largest delta on earth, is situated in South Asia. It is located between
20
340and 26
380north latitude and 88
010and 92
410east longitude (BBS 2017). It
is bordered by India on the west, north, and east, by Myanmar on the southeast, and
by the Bay of Bengal on the south (Fig. 1). The area of the country is 147,570 km
2
.
Most of the country is low-lying comprising mainly the delta of the Ganges and
Brahmaputra rivers. A total of 80% of the country is oodplain (Agrawala et al.
2003). Mean elevations range from less than 1 m on tidal oodplains, 13 m on the
main river and estuarine oodplains, and up to 6 m in the Sylhet basin in the
northeast (Rashid 1991). Only in the extreme northwest, elevations are greater
than 30 m above the mean sea level. The northeast and southeast portions of the
country are hilly, with some tertiary hills over 1000 m above mean sea level (Huq
and Asaduzzaman 1999).
The climatic condition of Bangladesh is tropical monsoon. It has a hot and rainy
summer and a dry winter. January is the coolest month with an average temperature
of 26 C, and April is the warmest with temperatures ranging from 27 C (east) to
40 C (west). The climate is one of the wettest in the world. In the rainy season, most
places receive above 1525 mm rainfall annually, and hilly areas receive about
5080 mm. Maximum rainfalls occur from June to September all through the
Table 7 Environmental issues, causes, vulnerable areas, and overall impacts in Nepal
Key environmental
issues Main causes Vulnerable areas Impacts
Deforestation; loss
of biodiversity;
coastal degradation;
land degradation;
soil erosion; waste
generation; pollution
by municipal and
domestic waste;
limited access to
potable water;
waterborne diseases;
air and water
pollution; climate
change
Human pressure;
increased demand for
timber; unplanned
marine-based
tourism; poaching;
sea level rise;
industrial and
municipal waste
disposal
Agriculture; coastal
and marine
ecosystems; water
resources; sheries;
public health; natural
disasters
Reduced crop
production due to
high temperature and
sea level rise;
damages to
settlements,
industries, and
livelihoods in coastal
areas; ecosystem
degradation and
biodiversity loss in
coastal and marine
ecosystems; saline
water intrusion into
the freshwater and
groundwater;
increased incidence of
vector-borne
diseases; imbalanced
climatic events;
threats to ocean;
threats to food
security, shery, and
livelihoods; and coral
reef bleaching
12 G. N. T. Hasnat et al.
monsoon and least from November to February during the winter season
(Banglapedia 2014).
The environment of the country is under severe pressure due to changing climate
and destructive anthropogenic activities. Environmental degradation is directly and
indirectly affecting human health, ecosystems, and economic growth of the country.
Demographic pressure, poverty, lack of proper awareness on environmental issues,
and lack of implementation and monitoring of environmental rules are the main
causes for existing environmental condition of Bangladesh (GEDPCB 2015).
As environment is a vast area and each part is linked with others. Changes in any
part or issue are responsible for changing the other parts. The major environmental
Fig. 1 Map of Bangladesh
Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asia, Particularly... 13
issues and problems in Bangladesh are climate change, natural calamities (lightning,
cyclone, ood, ash ood, drought, earthquake, riverbank erosion, sedimentation),
geospatial setting, environmental pollutions (air pollution, water pollution, soil
pollution, and noise pollution), ecosystem changes, deforestation, forest re, desert-
ication, salinity intrusion, waste disposal, salt/shrimp cultivation, brickeld, exotic
species, etc.
Climate Change
Among all countries of South Asia, Bangladesh is the most vulnerable one to climate
change (Huq 2001; Rahman and Alam 2003; UNDP 2007) because of its unfavor-
able geographic location, at- and low-lying topography, high population density,
high levels of poverty, livelihoods reliance on climate-sensitive sectors like agricul-
ture and sheries, and inefcient institutional aspects (Climate Change Cell 2006).
Change of climatic condition affects adversely in every sectors directly or indirectly.
But the most disparaging effects of climate change are sea level rise, higher
temperatures, unexpected monsoon precipitation, increased ooding both in terms
of extend and frequency, frequent cyclonic hazards, drought, salinity intrusion, and
increasing temperature (Huq and Ayers 2008). Impacts of climate change are
extremely detrimental to the national economy, environment, and national develop-
ment (Reid and Sims 2007).
Human health is severely affected by weather and climate. Climate change
induces health problems, such as cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, infectious
diseases, malnutrition, and even deaths. On the other side, it is declining water and
food securities and undermining infrastructures, health systems, and social protec-
tion systems (WHO 2015).
Global Warming
The worlds temperature is increasing day by day, and it is predicted by the
specialists that due to climate change the global temperature will rise between
1.80 C and 4.0 C by the year 2100, although it could possibly be 6.4 C (Alley
et al. 2007). In case of direct effects of temperature, Bangladesh experiences the
most rapid rates of warming, degradation of land, diseases in human, and demolition
in local livelihoods and biodiversity. As well as, in case of indirect effects, hotter
weather increases the number of deaths and illness due to heat, particularly in older
people and urban poor (Depledge and Lamb 2005).
A research was conducted in Bangladesh from 1983 to 2009 and found a
relationship between mortality rate and temperature (Alam et al. 2012). From 1961
to 1990, the rate of heat-related deaths in elderly persons (65+ years) was 4 deaths
per 100,000 annually. It is increasing rapidly after 1990, and the devastating death
occurs during the 8-day heat wave in 2008 (WHO 2015). During those 8 days, more
than 3800 people died from the excess heat. Two thirds of those were 65 or older
which indicates that the elderly are especially more vulnerable to heat waves
(Gawthrop 2017). In 1990 the warm spell was 60 days. But a projection by WHO
(2015) revealed that under this environmental condition, the warm spell will be
almost 300 days by 2100, and death rate will increase at 30 per 100,000 people by
14 G. N. T. Hasnat et al.
2080. Only a systematic reduction of global warming could limit warm spell days to
120 on average and heat-related mortality at 7 per 100,000 people.
The increasing temperature directly effects on food production sector. Crop yields
directly depend on climatic conditions (temperature, rainfall, etc.), and higher
temperature leads to large declines in cereal production (Stern 2006). A long-term
increase of temperature in water will increase the concentration CO
2
that make the
harbor of shes more acidic. Some shes and aquatic fauna are intolerable to acidic
water and may become extinct with time (Pender 2008).
Geophysical Setting
Bangladesh covers a land area of 130,170 km
2
containing 162 million people, and
the population density is 1251.8 people per km
2
. Bangladesh covers diverse geo-
physical features oodplains (80%), terraces (8%), and hills (12%) (BBS 2017).
Moreover, the evergreen, deciduous, and mangrove forest depicts diversied phys-
iography (Ahmed and Vijnan 1997). Furthermore the seasonal monsoon climate of
the country is rich with high rainfall, high humidity, and high and low temperatures
(BBS 2016). These varied geophysical settings expose the country to rapid environ-
mental changes and natural hazards.
Demographic Pressure
Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated country in the world (Huq et al.
1998). Population pressure is an obstacle for Bangladesh to achieve major two broad
goals socio-economic development and reduction of poverty. Population density of
Bangladesh was 196 per km
2
in 1901 (Huq et al. 1998) increased to 1251.8 per km
2
in 2016. Now the average annual growing rate is 2.08%, and if the population
increases in such a rate, then the carrying capacity levelof the country will be
collapsed.
Population pressure is the main culprit for environmental changes (Bremner et al.
2010) and also the vital factor for rapid land-use and cover change (Vanclay 1993;
Wibowo and Byron 1999) and deforestation deforestation (Amelung and Diehl
1992; Mather and Needle 2000). Rising of population leads to excessive demands
for housing and consumption of goods and services. For meeting the additional need
of house and foods, existing agricultural lands are converted into building construc-
tion, and marginal lands like forest lands are brought under cultivation (Fig. 2).
Encroaching and deforestation causes soil erosion, loss of soil fertility, siltation,
ooding in river basins, changes in microclimate, habitat loss, loss of genetic
diversity, ecosystem loss, and damages of environmental balance. Moreover,
low-lying areas are also invaded for more housing and cultivation of more food
grains; thus habitats of sh are encroached. Similarly, shrinkage of pasture land
affects livestock resources. Thus growing people over exploit the natural resources
of the country (Huq et al. 1998) and induce ecological hazards.
Unplanned Urbanization and Industrialization
Urbanization is closely linked with industrialization (Rahman 2012). Moreover,
urbanization, migration, and development are also interlinked (Kawsar 2012). But,
Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asia, Particularly... 15
in Bangladesh rapid urbanization is the greatest challenge of twenty-rst century
because of unplanned and uncontrolled urban growth (Khan 2016). Total land of
urban area covers 10,600 km
2
which is only 7% of the total land but contains 34% of
the total population (LGED 2017).
The country was predominantly agrarian and rural. In 1951 only 4% of the
population lived in urban area. Urban population increased moderately to about
8% by 1971. But it grew rapidly after independence at 19% by 1991. Saha (1989)
reported that increased industrialization in Bangladesh increases urbanization in that
period. In 2005, about 26% of the total population was found in urban area while
28% by 2011 and 34% by the end of 2016. If this growth rates exist, then the
countrys urban population will reach at 79 million or 42% of the total population by
2035 (LGED 2017).
Growing urbanization creates numerous problems and challenges for the growing
people including poor housing and transport; inadequate drinking water; lack of
drainage and sewerage; high percent of people living in slums; inadequate urban
basic services especially water, electricity, sanitation, and gas; dumping of huge
wastages on open land and in rivers; increasing industrial pollutions; social and
political conict over land resources; and high level of vulnerability to natural
disasters (LGED 2017). Unplanned urbanization not only depletes the countrys
natural resources but also degrades the environment.
Fig. 2 Forest lands are converted into agricultural land
16 G. N. T. Hasnat et al.
Unplanned Construction of Brick fields
Brick burning contributes to climate changes and global warming by absorption of
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in higher quantities (IUSS 2002). Brick kilns
produce long-term and short-term impacts on the environment. Deforestation,
reducing agricultural yields, damaging arable lands, air pollution, etc. are the
short-term effects, while climate change, global warming, impacts on human health,
ozone layer depletion, etc. are the long-term effects (Pokhrel and Lee 2011).
Collection of soil from agricultural land, mountains, and hillocks for manufacturing
bricks (GEDPCB 2015) removes topsoil, and it takes 2530 years for those lands to
regain fertility. Brickelds near the rivers or other water resources cause great
impacts on sh production, aquatic plant survival, and aquatic ecosystems (Jerin
et al. 2017).
In Bangladesh there are approximately 10,000 brick kilns (Fig. 3). According to
the Bangladesh Brick Manufacturing Association, for growing Dhaka City, it needs
to manufacture 3.54 billion bricks per year. According to the estimation of Depart-
ment of Environment, about 430 metric tons of fuelwood are required for
manufacturing one million bricks. Fuelwoods used in brick kilns are approximately
25% of total fuel used in Bangladesh annually (Islam 2001). Bangladesh Forest
Research Institute (BFRI) estimated that, on average, 8000 ha of reserve forests are
deforested annually where brick manufacturing plants play a vital role in this
destruction. Moreover, the chimneys used by the manufacturers are totally environ-
ment unfriendly and spread unsafely the poisonous vapors, dust, carbon dioxide,
carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, orin, and lead into the lower atmosphere. Brick
kilns are the main source of ne particulate pollution in Bangladesh and produce
nearly 40% of total emissions. The Bangladesh Country Environmental Analysis
reports that emissions of particulate matters from this kiln cluster are responsible for
750 premature deaths annually (Sarker 2012). In general different types of diseases
like skin disease, eye irritation, and respiratory problems are recorded around the
brick manufacturing kilns.
Sea Level Rise and Salinity Intrusion
Vast coastal area, high population density, and high poverty rate and reliance on
natural resources tend Bangladesh to be one of the most vulnerable countries to
extreme weather events. Almost 25% of the total population live in coastal areas and
under threat of storms, sea level rise, and tropical cyclones. At present, saline
intrusion into the agricultural lands, drinking water (Fig. 4), and livelihoods reaches
at 100 km upland from the Bay of Bengal (Khan et al. 2011). Sea level rise is a long-
term process, and if continued, an annual average of 7.2 million people will be
affected between 2070 and 2100. If there is proper protection like construction
and raising of dikes, the effect could be limited to about 14,100 people only
(WHO 2015).
If the sea level rise up to 1 m, Bangladesh could lose 15% of its land area and
around 30 million people could become refugees. It will effect on agriculture,
industry, infrastructure, livelihoods, marine resources, forestry, biodiversity,
Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asia, Particularly... 17
sheries, human health, and other utility services by ooding and salinity intrusion
(Denissen 2012). IPCC predicted that due to sea level rise, 17% land area, 30% food
production, and 20 million people will directly be suffering by 2050.
Natural Calamities in Bangladesh
Currently Bangladesh is ranked worldly as one of the most disaster-prone countries.
Almost 97% of the total land area are at risk of multiple hazards including tropical
cyclones, oods, droughts, and riverbank and coastal erosion (Alam 2016). The
natural disasters that Bangladesh experiences frequently are described in the follow-
ing paragraphs.
Flood and Flash Flood
Among all disasters, ood is more hazardous in Bangladesh. Floods in Bangladesh
are more frequent and cause a pronounced national economic damage. Bangladesh is
a low-lying country with 54 trans-boundary rivers (Alam and Siddiqi 2007) that
carry huge oodwater during the monsoon. Almost 80% of the total area of the
country is prone to ooding. Catastrophic oods occurred on average of every
1020 years 1974, 1987, 1988, 1998, and 2004. Direct impacts occurred on
agriculture, sheries, drainage, infrastructures, industry, trade, commerce, utility
services, as well as urban and rural lives (Denissen 2012).
Fig. 3 Unplanned brick eld construction on the bank of Buriganga River
18 G. N. T. Hasnat et al.
Flash oods occur mostly in the northeast and southeast regions of Bangladesh
caused by heavy rainfall in bordering hilly regions (Fig. 5). During ash oods the
violent inow from the hills run offs and washes away infrastructures, crops, and
lives. Because of the steeper gradients in hilly areas, ash oods have less travel time
and short-lived but more violent, sometimes causes landslides. Flash oods some-
times also occur in the northwestern region of Bangladesh due to heavy, localized
rainfall (Alam and Siddiqi 2007).
Cyclone
Bangladesh experiences signicantly frequent tropical cyclones each year (Salek
1998;Paul2009; Haque et al. 2012). At present 8.3 million people are living in
cyclone-prone area, and Tanner et al. (2007) anticipated that it will be nearly 20.3
million by 2050. South and south-eastern parts of the country are more exposed to
and hit by tropical cyclones during last few years (Figs. 6and 7). In Bangladesh,
women are especially vulnerable to cyclone. During the most devastating cyclone in
1991, the death rate in case of women was almost ve times higher than the men
(Denissen 2012).
Riverbank Erosion
In Bangladesh per capita cultivated land is only 12.5 decimals, and around 52% of
rural population are functionally landless. Moreover, every year roughly 1% of farm
Fig. 4 Indigenous water collection technique at high saline period
Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asia, Particularly... 19
Fig. 5 Flash ood overows the stream in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHTs)
Fig. 6 A single patch of Sidr (disastrous cyclone of 2007) affected Sundarbans after 4 years of
attack
20 G. N. T. Hasnat et al.
land is being converted to nonagricultural uses (Quasem 2011). In such condition,
any loss of land by riverbank erosion is shocking (Rana and Nessa 2017). Rivers are
dynamic in nature and riverbank erosion is a natural process (Fig. 8). Channel
changes due to bank erosion in one side and accretion of land in another side are
the natural process. But sometimes it occurred due to anthropogenic activities like
sand mining, infrastructure building on the riverbank, articial cutoffs, construction
of reservoirs, land-use alterations, etc. (Li et al. 2007; Uddin et al. 2011). River bank
erosion causes socio-economic losses rather than killing. Loss of houses and agri-
cultural land forces people for migration. Due to riverbank erosion in Bangladesh,
almost 129,853 people were displaced yearly (Mollah and Ferdaush 2015).
Lightning
Lightning is an emerging environmental issue throughout the world including
Bangladesh. About 24,000 deaths and 240,000 injuries occur globally per year due
to lightning (Holle 2008). Lightning injury is globally considered as leading cause of
weather-related death after tornadoes, ash oods, and hurricanes (Biswas et al.
2016). Bangladesh government also added lightning strikes to the countrys disasters
list (Islam 2016). Bangladesh is more prone to this type of disaster. Most lightning
deaths usually occur during the warm months of March to July and severe in month
of May (Tasin and Roy 2016).
According to the report of Dewan et al. (2017), since 1990 to mid-2016, a total of
5468 casualties occurred in Bangladesh comprised of 3086 fatalities and 2382
injuries. Previously, the fatality and injury rate were 0.92 and 0.71 (correspondingly)
Fig. 7 Damages by Sidr in the core zone of the Sundarbans
Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asia, Particularly... 21
per million people per year and become double in 2010 (1.6 and 1.4 per million
people per year, respectively). According to the Bangladesh Meteorological Depart-
ment, 1476 people have died from lightning in Bangladesh since 2010. The rural
portions are 93% more vulnerable than urban and male are more susceptible than
women. The more lightning-prone areas in Bangladesh are eld (43%), house (22%)
(Holle 2009), water body (14%), and road (12%). Frequency and intensity of
lightning is linked with climate change, as climate change causes global warming,
leads to more evaporation, and causes more clouds that are more potential for
lightning storms.
Drought, Desertification, and Water Scarcity
Drought and desertication are other alarming environmental issues and greatest
challenges for Bangladesh (Ali 2007). North and northwestern regions of the country
are suffering from drought (Pender 2008) because of extreme temperature (Denissen
2012) and water deciency (Stern 2008) (Fig. 9). Deforestation leads to desertica-
tion in Bangladesh by reducing groundwater level that leads to soil dry, fragile, and
easily erodible. Desertication already started at the central Barind area in the
northwest part of the country. Besides deforestation, low soil fertility also causes
aridity that leads to land degradation and ultimately desertication. About 6.0
million ha (43% of total area) of Bangladesh was affected by various forms and
degrees of degradation (Ali 2007; Islam et al. 2010).
Desertication originated great economic losses and human sufferings than any
other environmental issues in Bangladesh. Since 19601991 drought occurred in
Bangladesh 19 times and affected about 47% area and 53% population of the country
Fig. 8 River bank erosion in the countryside of Bangladesh
22 G. N. T. Hasnat et al.
(Fig. 10). Between 19691970 and 19831984, the relative effects of drought were
more damaging than ood on rice production (Ali 2007; Islam et al. 2010). Drought
and desertication affect directly on food production, biodiversity, water resources,
sheries, socio-culture, economy, and human health. Moreover, mortality rate of
infant is twice in dry zones than the non-dry zones.
Pollution
Environmental pollution has become a major global concern in recent years as well
as in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is now facing a serious problem of air pollution, water
pollution, soil pollution, and noise pollution. Each and every of these types of
pollution has detrimental effects on environment, human health, biodiversity, and
quality of life. Major cities of Bangladesh Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Sylhet,
Rajshahi, Barisal, Gazipur, and Narayanganj are more prone to the pollutions.
Air pollution: Air pollution is one kind of anthropogenic generous environmental
pollution. It is associated with around 7 million premature death and 45 million new
cases of chronic bronchitis globally each year (UNEP 2001). In Bangladesh, air
pollution has recently been receiving priority among all environmental issues.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) latest report, Bangladesh has
ranked fourth among 91 countries with worst urban air quality. There are two
Fig. 9 Drying up of stream causes water scarcity
Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asia, Particularly... 23
main sources for air pollution in Bangladesh industries and vehicles. Industries and
vehicles specially two-stroke engines produce enormous quantities of harmful gases
that pollute air (Shams 2017). Another major source of air pollution is brick eld that
burn fossil fuels and produce a large portion of air pollution.
Indoor pollution by burning of biomass for cooking causes great threats to women
and children health. In Bangladesh, household air pollution is responsible for 61% of
total child deaths due to acute lower respiratory infections (Hales et al. 2014).
Particulate pollutants with the sizes of 10 μm diameter (Pandve 2008) or smaller
are more detrimental than gaseous pollutants. Particles can penetrate and lodge deep
inside the lungs and may cause cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and even
cancer in the lung or urinary tract or bladder in human body. It is assumed that
around 2080% decrease in air pollution level in Bangladesh could save approxi-
mately 12003500 lives annually (GEDPCB 2015).
Water pollution: Water pollution is the second most devastating pollution in
Bangladesh. The main sources of water in Bangladesh are rainwater, surface
water, and groundwater (Ahmed 2015). Rainwater pollution includes acid rain that
directly linked with air pollution. The intensity of acid rain is low in Bangladesh,
sometimes found in Dhaka City. Surface water generally polluted by industrial
wastes (Islam et al. 2015), solid wastes, and sewage disposal. Mostly contributing
industries for water pollution are pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, metal processing,
food industry, fertilizer, pesticides, dyeing and painting, textile, tannery, etc. Out of
230 main rivers of Bangladesh, more than 200 rivers directly or indirectly receive a
large quantity of untreated industrial wastes and efuents (Islam 2011). Everyday
approximately 700 tanneries of Dhaka city are discharging about 16,000 m
3
of toxic
wastes (Alam 2009). About 40004500 t of solid wastes are generated daily
Fig. 10 Drinking water collection during drought period
24 G. N. T. Hasnat et al.
(Rahman et al. 1999), and most of that are discharging in low-lying areas or into river
water (Figs. 11 and 12). This contamination transports to human bodies through food
chain (Chakraborty et al. 2013).
About 97% people of Bangladesh are using groundwater as the main source of
drinking water that has been threatened by arsenic contamination (Smith et al. 1998).
Seventy-ve million people are at risk, and 24 million are potentially exposed to
arsenic contamination (Sauddin and Karim 2001). Arsenic contamination of
groundwater in Bangladesh is considered the worlds largest case of water pollution
(Sauddin and Karim 2001; Ahmed 2015). Groundwater is also polluted by inl-
tration of industrial wastes disposed on the ground or in surface water bodies,
intrusion of saline water, and extensive use of agrochemicals. Leaking sewers/septic
tanks/pit latrines also causes groundwater pollution.
Soil pollution: Soil is the main part of terrestrial ecosystems (Shahabuddin et al.
2010). After water, soil is the second most useful natural substance in Bangladesh
(Latif et al. 2008). This part is contaminated by pollutants arising from domestic,
municipal, industrial, mining, agricultural wastes, and agrochemicals (Kalantari
et al. 2006; Osman 2014). These hazardous elements increase the optimum level
of soil chemical substances and thus induce soil pollution (Kabata-Pendias and
Pendias 2001).
Most common chemicals such as petroleum hydrocarbons, heavy metals (chro-
mium, lead, copper, arsenic, etc.), pesticides, and solvents (Davis and Cornwell
Fig. 11 Water pollution in Buriganga River due to dumping of solid wastages
Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asia, Particularly... 25
1998) pollute ground soil generally in 4 ways (1) discharging of industrial wastes,
(2) seepage from landlls and sewages, (3) close contact with contaminated water,
and (4) excessive and nonregulated use of agrochemicals. Underground soil is
contaminated by leaching, inltration, and percolation of pollutants (Kanta et al.
2014) along with above mentioned four ways.
Industrial wastes deteriorate soil-water-plant system (Islam et al. 2006; Shamsad
et al. 2009), produce pollutant gases, increase soil salinity, and mix with food chain.
Soil pollution causes ecosystem loss and ecological imbalance; decreases soil
fertility, crop yield, and soil nutrient; and increases soil erosion, water logging and
inundation, pollutant in water, and public health problems.
Noise pollution: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), noise is
considered as the third hazardous environmental pollutant in Bangladesh following
air and water pollution (Muhit and Chowdhury 2013). Noise pollution produces
from trafc, airports, ports, railroads, industries, construction works, loudspeakers,
and in broader sense from urbanization (Dewan et al. 2012). Effects of noise
pollution include hearing loss in human, nervous disorder, hypertension, headache,
indigestion, peptic ulcer, degradation in lifestyle even death, and wildlife
disturbances (Kadiyali 1997; Tanvir and Rahman 2011). Ahmed (1998) reported
about 57% patients of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Medical University
(BSMMU), Dhaka, admitted themselves due to permanent deafness from noise
Fig. 12 Water pollution in the city areas due to careless throwing of wastages in the drainage
systems
26 G. N. T. Hasnat et al.
pollution (OECD 1995). Noise pollution also creates birth defects and changes in
immune system (Passchier-Vermeer and Passchier 2000). It also increases workplace
accident rates, stimulating aggression, and antisocial behavior (Kryter 1994).
According to World Health Organization (WHO), 60 decibel (dB) sound can make
a man deaf temporarily, and 100 dB sound can cause complete deafness. According
to the Department of Environment (DOE), in peaceful areas the perfect sound
condition for Bangladesh is 45 dB for the daytime and 35 dB for the night, while
in case of residential areas, 50 dB sound is considerable for the daytime and 40 dB
for night. At present noise level in Dhaka City of Bangladesh is measured between
60 and 100 decibel (Alam 2009). Daily variation of noise level in decibel at different
locations of Dhaka City is represented in Table 8.
If this condition continues, then 50% people of Dhaka City will lose 30 decibel of
hearing power by the year 2017 (Alam 2009).
Ecosystem Changes and Biodiversity Depletion
Bangladesh is a tropical country (Khan et al. 2007) and harbor of rich biological
diversity (Hossain 2001). It was assessed that altogether about 5700 species of
angiosperms (excluding gymnosperms) and 1500 species of fauna have been avail-
able in the country (Hossain 2001), but recently the population of some of the
species have declined to about a half.
Bangladesh has got a wide diversity of ecosystems. The vast ecosystem was
found in the worlds largest mangrove forests in Bangladesh. It has an area of about
601,700 ha and covers 4.13% of the country and 38.12% of the state forest land. A
total of 334 species of trees, shrubs, and epiphytes and 269 species of wild animals
have been identied here. The most signicant is the famous Royal Bengal Tiger.
But the ecosystem is changing and biodiversity is declining day by day due to
climate change impacts and human activities, and the Sundarbans are likely to suffer
the most.
Growing people depend on forests and aquatic ecosystems for livelihoods and
pose a serious threat to biodiversity and ecosystems through illegal cutting,
encroachment, poaching, and land grabbing (Kibria and Haroon 2017). Since 1880
Table 8 Noise pollution in decibel at different places in Dhaka City
Time
interval
Location
Gulshan Gulshan
Science
lab Saydabad Farmgate Dhanmondi Uttara
Commercial Residential Mixed Commercial Commercial Residential Residential
711 am 80.08 76.16 76.24 83.27 80.07 75.87 76.25
11 am3
pm
79.34 74.83 75.19 83.89 78.86 74.38 74.81
37pm 81.13 76.11 77.23 84.37 81.96 75.21 76.81
7pm1
am
78.52 74.31 75.32 82.08 80.28 76.30 73.36
Source: Alam (2009)
Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asia, Particularly... 27
to till now, 14 animal species have been extinct in Bangladesh (BFD 2017).
According to IUCN Bangladesh Red Data Book (2000), there are 266 species of
inland shes, 442 marine shes, 22 amphibians, 109 inland reptiles, 17 marine
reptiles, 388 resident birds, 240 migratory birds, 110 inland mammals, as well as
3 species of marine mammals in Bangladesh; out of which 54 species of inland
shes, 8 amphibians, 58 reptiles, 41 resident birds, and 40 mammals are threatened
throughout the country. Among the marine and migratory species of animals, four
shes, ve reptiles, six birds, and three mammals are threatened. When an ecosystem
losses a species, then total ecosystem and environmental balance collapsed.
Introduction of Exotic Species
Biological invasion has become a burning environmental issue globally as it dom-
inant over native ecosystems (Seabloom et al. 2006) and changes climate over time
(DAntonio and Vitousek 1992). To meet the basic needs of growing population,
alien species were introduced deliberately in Bangladesh. Some ora was introduced
due to their economic value (Tectona grandis) and rapid growth (Acacia
auriculiformis). Mono-crop plantation of Tectona grandis initiated at Kaptai,
Chittagong in 1871 by clear felling the natural forests creates a great environmental
hazard. Teak plantation lacks undergrowth and is more subject to intense surface soil
erosion (Miah et al. 2014). Similarly, to meet food nutrition value, some fauna were
introduced too. A few of introduced ora and fauna became invasive later and cause
great threats to the environment.
The rst widely introduced alien species in Bangladesh is water hyacinth
(Eichhornia crassipes) (Fig. 13) brought from Brazil during the British period for
its ornamental value. With time it became invasive in nature and vigorously spreads
throughout all wetlands (Pallewatta et al. 2003). Introduction of acacia and eucalyp-
tus into Bangladesh from Australia during the 1980s created great controversial
problems. These two genera are proven to be adversaries to the endemic ora and
found as environmentally unfriendly species to Bangladesh (Ameen 1999). More-
over out of all sh species that brought from abroad, 15 became more invasive. The
most disastrous ones are Clarias gariepinus (African magur), Pangasius giganticus
(giant pangas), and Oreochromis niloticus (nilotica). These were introduced from
Thailand between 1953 and 1990 (Rahman 1997).
Deforestation
Deforestation induces climate change and global warming and thus initiates other
environmental issues. Though forest area of Bangladesh is 17.62% of total land,
actual canopy coverage is only 6% (Fig. 14). Only deforestation is the culprit for this
forest condition. About 50% forests of the country have been destroyed by defores-
tation during last 20 years (Hossain et al. 2014; Rasel 2014; Chakma 2015).
Indiscriminate felling of trees for industrial purposes in the greater parts of Dhaka,
Mymensingh, and Rajshahi and for shifting cultivation in Chittagong Hill Tracts
resulted an alarming depletion of natural forests.
Population explosion is the prominent cause for deforestation faced by
Bangladesh. Countrys forests have been depleted since the early twentieth century
28 G. N. T. Hasnat et al.
due to increasing demand of land for agriculture, homes, and industries for over
population. In the 1980s, deforestation rate was 8000 ha per year, and now with
growing population, it is 37,700 ha per year. Deforestation causes soil erosion,
reduced rainfall, ecosystems and biodiversity damage, and species extinction and
prompts climate change.
Forest Fire
Large and irregular forest res create intensive environmental impacts (Holmes et al.
2007). Forests of Bangladesh are tropical moist deciduous, so natural forest re is a
sporadic event here. But intentional man-made forest re occurred several times in
Bangladesh (Fig. 15) basically in the Sundarbans. In last 14 years, there have been
19 re incidents occurred in the Sundarbans. This intentional re usually is created
just before the monsoon in order to clear the lower land of forest to collect rainy
water for shing.
Shrimp Cultivation and Salt Production
An enormous expansion of commercial shrimp cultivation and salt production
recently appeared as another major environmental issues. Shrimp cultivation and
salt production in the existing agricultural land (Fig. 16) or by encroaching forest
lands near the coastal zone affects soil and ecosystems terrically since it needs
holding saline water for a long period of the year. Dikes of the shrimp enclosures
Fig. 13 Invasion by water hyacinth in Kopotakkho River
Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asia, Particularly... 29
hinder the free ow of tide water which causes acute salinity mostly during the
month of April and reduce soil fertility rapidly. As a consequence, the land becomes
unproductive for further crop production. The severe concentration of salinity in the
soil increases vegetation mortality rate and damages forests.
Chakaria Sundarbans in Coxs Bazar, Bangladesh, is an evidence of how
unplanned shrimp culture can destruct a natural forest rapidly. Historical records
of deforestation for shrimp cultivation represent that in 1972, the Chakaria
Sundarbans occupied an area of 19,000 ha. By 1981, this forest area shrink to near
9000 ha. In 1985, it was further reduced to only 4000 ha and again squeezed to half
by 1991 (Rasel 2014).
Sedimentation or Siltation
Worlds largest delta, in Bangladesh, was affected by regular ood, riverbank
erosion, and sedimentation (Grosjean et al. 1995). The Ganges-Brahmaputra-
Meghna (GBM) delta is one of the most dynamic tide-dominated deltas in the
world (Haque and Rahman 2016). The GBM system carries the worlds highest
annual sediment load at one billion tons (Milliman and Syvitski 1992) (Fig. 17).
Seasonal overbank ooding during monsoon discharges 95% of total sediments
(Goodbred 2003) and has created a 16 km thick uvio-deltaic sediment layer in
the Bengal Basin since the Paleogene (Allison 1998).
Fig. 14 Barren hills in Teknaf due to deforestation
30 G. N. T. Hasnat et al.
All rivers of Bangladesh carry and deposit 2 billion tons of sediments per year in
the delta (ISPAN 1993; Rana 1993). The major effects of sedimentation are rising up
river basins and sea levels. Many rivers already lose their depth and disappeared
permanently due to sedimentation. Sea level of Bangladesh was 120 m lower 18,000
BP (Grosjean et al. 1995), and it is predicted that global sea levels could rise more
than 3 ft by 2100 (IPCC 2014). If the lower level of sea and rivers lifted up, then
ood intensity and salinity intrusion will increase more.
Excessive and Nonregulated Use of Agrochemicals
Bangladesh is mainly an agrarian-based country. To meet the demand for growing
population, farmers had to adopt a lot of strategies in different times. The most
adverse ones were use of chemical fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, and pesticides.
Maximum farmers and dealers are illiterate and untrained. They apply agrochemicals
massively for getting rapid and huge amount of crops from their small amount of
land (Chakrabarty et al. 2014). Without examining the soil type, excessive and
indiscriminate use of agrochemicals may augment natural permissible level of
some radioactive elements in soil. Without direct attachment, this kind of radioac-
tivity could contaminate human body and other animals (Rajendran 2003)by
entering food chain and creates slow poisoning. Moreover it causes a great threat
to the soil and water ecosystems. Irrational use of agrochemicals impacts on human
Fig. 15 Intentional forest re in hill of Chittagong Hill Tracts
Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asia, Particularly... 31
Fig. 16 Salt cultivation in agricultural lands of Teknaf
Fig. 17 Exposure of GBM delta to sedimentation (Source: http://www.goesr.gov)
32 G. N. T. Hasnat et al.
health, environment, surface water, groundwater, soil and soil fertility, air, non
targeted vegetation, and organisms (Aktar et al. 2009).
In Bangladesh, use of agrochemicals started in 1960 but it became more severe
since 1980. It is well established that insecticides cause acute and chronic toxicity on
human beings. According to the World Health Organization, pesticide poisoning
kills 25 million people globally every year (Mohammad 2012). Contaminated and
excessive use of agrochemicals expedites different types of diseases in Bangladesh.
Heart disease, kidney complicacy, hypertension, eye irritation, acidity, diabetes, liver
cancer, etc. are the most common ones.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Urbanization, industrialization, and burning of fossil fuel along with many other
factors are responsible for raising the CO
2
level in the atmosphere and producing
other greenhouse gases in many ways (Khwaja et al. 2012). Raised CO
2
and other
greenhouse gases are the major contributor to the global climate change and resultant
effects (IUSS 2002). To combat with climate change, site appropriate mitigation and
adaptation measure can be taken. For reducing greenhouse gases emission to safer
level, renewable energy sources like solar energy can be used in industries, vehicles,
brickkilns, and for cooking. Non-degraded forests and nonpolluted soil and water
can consume huge amount of CO
2
from the atmosphere. Human pressure is the
rooted problem for rapid urbanization and industrialization, increased number of
vehicles and fossil fuel burning, pressurized land-use changes, and rapid climatic
changes with its adverse impacts (Bremner et al. 2010; Vanclay 1993; Wibowo and
Byron 1999). Developing the existing population into human capital along with
measures for controlling the future population size to desired level by reducing
growth rate could be proper solutions for mitigating all adverse environmental
issues.
Cross-References
Air Pollution
Air Pollution Prevention Technologies
Environmental impact of steel industry
Environmental Risk Assessment
Global Environmental Issues
Impact of Climate Change and Land Use Change Scenarios on Water Resources in
Ta Chin River Basin: A case study of Suphan Buri Prrovince, Thailand
Indoor Air Pollution around Industrial Areas and its Effect: A Case Study in Delhi
City
Industrial solid waste management in a developing country governorate and the
opportunities for the application of cleaner production principles
Integrated Assessment of Environmental Factors: Risks to Human Health
Major Environmental Issues and Problems of South Asia, Particularly... 33
Major Environmental Issues and Problems
Modern Air Pollution Prevention Strategies in the Urban Environment: A case
study of Delhi
Modern Environmental Materials, Pollution Prevention, Sustainability and Green
World
Modern Societal Demands and Environment
Soil pollution and remediation
Some Important Global Environmental Issues and Problems
Status of Particulate Matter Pollution in India - A Review
Sustainable Materials Management
Wastewater Management to Environmental Materials Management
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40 G. N. T. Hasnat et al.
... The long-and short-run coefficients of urbanization were both positive and significant, implying that urbanization promotes the expansion of the ecological footprint and, as a result, environmental degradation. Bangladesh experiences unwanted and unplanned urbanization (Uz Zaman et al. 2010), which contributes to environmental pollution to a great extent (Hasnat et al. 2018). In unplanned urbanization, the more people migrate to cities, the more land gets occupied in an unsustainable fashion (Deng et al. 2015), which eventually impedes proper management of wastages (Gills and Sharma 2021), hampers air quality (Bai et al. 2017), and destroys environment as a whole. ...
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... South Asia is under serious threat from rising sea levels, soil erosion, saline water intrusion, etc., because of its diversified climatic zones and physical landscape (Hasnat et al., 2018). Along with other South Asian countries, the agricultural sector of Bangladesh is affected by climate change. ...
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... It is estimated that 2270 ha of land is lost annually to riverbank erosion (Kamal and Abedin 2019). In the hilly regions of Bangladesh, soil erosion has accelerated and has occurred over approximately 1.7 m ha (Hasnat et al. 2018). A study at the Ramgati (hilly region) station of the Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI)reported that every year 2.0-4.7 t ha À1 soil is eroded in the region (Banglapedia 2015). ...
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... Approximately half of the world's dryland population currently resides in South Asia (IPCC, 2019). The South Asia region continues to suffer from water scarcity (Hasnat et al., 2018;Khan and Shah, 2011;Zheng et al., 2018), with 12% of the region's total population living in extreme poverty (IPCC, 2019). Under shared socio-economic pathway 1 (SSP1), for global warming of 2 • C, the world's dryland population is 974 million, with half of this vulnerable population being from South Asia (IPCC, 2019). ...
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... While most of the deforestation happened in the semi-evergreen hill forests of the Chittagong region (Dhali 2008;Reddy et al. 2016), all forests, including the Sundarbans (the world's largest contiguous mangrove forest) and the coastal plantations, in particular the planted mangroves, are under pressure (Uddin et al. 2019). In addition, Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change (Hasnat et al. 2018;Mojid 2020). Increasing income inequality and vulnerability of the poor to shocks such as those from natural disasters, and environmental degradation and unsustainable use of the remaining natural resources are major areas of concern. ...
... Therefore, it is clear that achieving carbon-neutrality is of paramount significance for Bangladesh, especially for the nation to comply with the associated international commitments. Besides, it is also of local interest for Bangladesh since the nation is one of the global nations that are highly susceptible to climate change atrocities (Hasnat et al. 2018). Besides, reducing CO 2 emissions can also be considered as a national agenda since the emission-induced climate change consequences have been acknowledged to negatively affect the domestic sectors as well, especially agriculture (Shakoor et al. 2021;Dagar et al. 2021). ...
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Achieving carbon-neutrality has become a global agenda following the ratification of the Paris Agreement. For the developing countries, in particular, attaining a low-carbon economy is particularly important since these economies are predominantly fossil-fuel dependent, to which Bangladesh is no exception. Therefore, this study specifically aimed at evaluating the environmental impacts associated with energy consumption and other key macroeconomic variables in the context of Bangladesh over the 1975-2016 period. As opposed to the conventional practice of using carbon dioxide emissions to proxy environmental quality, this study makes a novel attempt to use the carbon footprints to measure environmental welfare. The outcomes from this study are expected to facilitate the carbon-neutrality objective of Bangladesh and, therefore, enable the nation to comply with its commitments concerning the attainment of the targets enlisted under the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals declarations. The econometric analyses involved the application of methods that are suitable for handling the structural break issues in the data. The overall findings from empirical exercises reveal that aggregate energy consumption, fossil fuel consumption, and natural gas consumption boost the carbon footprints of Bangladesh. In contrast, non-fossil fuel consumption and hydroelectricity consumption abate the carbon footprints. Besides, economic growth and international trade are also evidenced to increase the carbon footprints. Furthermore, the causality analysis confirmed the presence of unidirectional causalities stemming from total energy consumption, fossil fuel consumption, natural gas consumption, hydroelectricity consumption, economic growth, and international trade to the carbon footprints. On the other hand, non-fossil fuel consumption is found to be bidirectionally associated with carbon footprints. In line with these aforementioned findings, several key policy suggestions are put forward regarding the facilitation of carbon-neutrality strategies in Bangladesh.
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Despite their importance, the mangrove ecosystem is one of the highly vulnerable ecosystems in the Anthropocene era. Mangrove ecosystems lie in an intertidal zone of subtropics and tropics regions. They provide ecological and economic services to the coastal communities. Mangrove provides multifaceted advantages to the local ecosystem such as it reduces the severity of the hurricane, storm surge, cyclone, and tsunami, prepares a perfect bed for spawning marine fishes, and also plays a major role in carbon sequestration. Deterioration in global estimates of mangrove covers ~150,000 km² is the consequence of exponentially increasing urbanization and industrialization. These two major anthropogenic activities induce numerous problems such as an increment in the intensity of natural calamities, local inhabitant losing their livelihood, and many marine species standing on the verge of extinction. An integrated approach is required for the preservation and management of mangrove biotopes with an amalgamation of local inhabitants, researchers, and government. Conservation techniques include afforestation, legislation, policies, application of remote sensing and geoinformation system (GIS), and development of parks and reserves for protection. This chapter is a consolidated approach to study the sources and impact of anthropogenic threats on mangrove forests from a global and Indian perspective with holistic conservation strategies.
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The economic fallout from COVID-19 resulted in an economic slowdown and a contraction in economic output, changed economic structures, and reduced financial inflows in the five least developed countries (LDCs) of Asia – Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Myanmar, and Nepal. This policy brief discusses these impacts in light of the LDC-graduation procedures of the United Nations together with the challenges that these countries face meeting their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and the environment-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 7, 12, and 13). The economic slowdown in Bangladesh, Lao PDR, and Myanmar and a contraction in economic output in Cambodia and Nepal has increased poverty in the five LDCs and is putting pressure on biomass resources in the rural areas of these countries. The change in the structures of their economies, which threatens to reverse processes of economic modernization in these LDCs, is undermining two decades of progress regarding the efficient use of natural resources and the associated reduction in greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP). A decline in financial inflows such as remittances, foreign direct investment, and official development assistance (ODA) is also a risk to both short- and long-term prospects of further investment in renewable energy generation and low GHG-emissions technologies. This policy brief suggests policies that target technical interventions and incentivize small-scale renewable energy technologies that are less susceptible to microeconomic and macroeconomic impacts from external shocks such as COVID-19.
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South Asia, a sub-region with nearly a third of the world's population living in extreme poverty and hunger, has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in an unprecedented way. The pandemic has undermined the progress achieved by the subregion towards attaining sustainable development goals. This study argues that fostering environmental sustainability in the South Asian region is crucial to “Building Back Better” while taking cognisance of future climate-related risks. With the low level of preparedness, the collapse of global supply chains, and restrictive regional integration, the individual country in the region lacks the fiscal and technical capacity to implement sustainable development goals effectively. Therefore, based on the analytical approach to regional integration, this paper explores the potential role of regional integration in ensuring environmental sustainability in South Asia. Additionally, this study illustrates how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected several environmental aspects at the regional level, such as clean energy, disaster risk reduction, and waste management, and shows how regional cooperation can address these challenges post pandemic. While previous studies mainly focus on regional integration in the European Union, this study targets the crucial importance of regional cooperation in South Asia in achieving environmental sustainability.
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This study investigated environmental and socio-economic impacts of brickfields at Bagatipara Upazila of Natore district, Bangladesh. A questionnaire survey was conducted at selected community members living at or near brick field areas with the aim to assess impacts of brick fields on air, water, soil, vegetation as well as socio-economic conditions. Findings of this study were based on randomly selected respondents’ perception on change of any resource or condition. Crop loss, decreased soil fertility and subsequent reductions in crop production were reported. Trees around brickfields were dusted badly and water quality of nearby water bodies deteriorated because of emerged dust and ash from brickfields. Noticeable negative impacts on aquaculture were found. Except few, a majority of the respondents were suffering from various diseases like eye irritation, skin diseases, and respiratory problems. Despite creating work opportunities for local people, brick fields of the study area adversely affected the environment and social economy.
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Background: Lightning injury is a global public health issue. Low and middle-income countries in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world are most affected by lightning. Bangladesh is one of the countries at particular risk, with a high number of devastating lightning injuries in the past years, causing high mortality and morbidity. The exact magnitude of the problem is still unknown and therefore this study investigates the epidemiology of lightning injuries in Bangladesh, using a national representative sample. Methods: A mixed method was used. The study is based on results from a nationwide cross-sectional survey performed in 2003 in twelve randomly selected districts. In the survey, a total of 819,429 respondents from 171,336 households were interviewed using face-to-face interviews. In addition, qualitative information was obtained by reviewing national and international newspaper reports of lightning injuries sustained in Bangladesh between 13 and 15 May 2016. Results: The annual mortality rate was 3.661 (95% CI 0.9313–9.964) per 1,000,000 people. The overall incidence of lightning injury was 19.89/100,000 people. Among the victims, 60.12% (n=98) were males and 39.87% (n=65) were females. Males were particularly vulnerable, with a 1.46 times increased risk compared with females (RR 1.46, 95% CI 1.06–1.99). Rural populations were more vulnerable, with a 8.73 times higher risk, than urban populations (RR 8.73, 95% CI 5.13–14.86). About 43% of injuries occurred between 12 noon and 6 pm. The newspapers reported 81 deaths during 2 days of electric storms in 2016. Lightning has been declared a natural disaster in Bangladesh. Conclusions: The current study indicates that lightning injuries are a public health problem in Bangladesh. The study recommends further investigations to develop interventions to reduce lightning injuries, mortality and related burden in Bangladesh.
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Frequent tropical cyclones and floods, and less frequent earthquakes and tsunamis affect Bangladesh. In absence of recent large earthquake and tsunami experience, the country's disaster risk reduction strategies have been developed from the learning dealing with frequent tropical cyclones and floods. However, an analysis of historical earthquake and tsunami suggests that the country is also vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis. For example, the 1762 earthquake originating within the Arakan Subduction Zone generated a tsunami in the northern Bay of Bengal that struck SE Bangladesh. This research aims to understand how local residents perceive and prepare for earthquake and tsunami in SE Bangladesh. In order to achieve this objective, this research used both quantitative (i.e. questionnaire survey) and qualitative (i.e. focus group discussions and informal interviews) data collection techniques in SE Bangladesh. The results of data analysis suggest that the local residents have lesser level of risk perception and preparedness in absence of their direct experience of earthquakes and tsunamis. As such, this research recommends further assessment of community vulnerability to earthquakes and tsunamis and implementing risk reduction strategies.
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The present paper seeks to study the relation that exists between urbanization and economic development in India. Economic development is measured here by a composite score of nine variables and its spatial pattern is compared with that of urbanization. The rate of increase of urban population has also been compared with the degree of urbanization in order to find out whether rapid increase is being registered by the relatively less urbanised states and vice versa. The study leads one to believe that, but for minor deviation, urbanization is positively related with the level of socio-economic development and negatively related with the rate of growth of urban population. The relationship between the level of development and the urban concentration in the largest city is, however, nondirectional and certain regional patterns can be identified. -from Author
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Tropical storms, such as cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons, present major threats to coastal communities. Around two million people worldwide have died and millions have been injured over the past two centuries as a result of tropical storms. Bangladesh is especially vulnerable to tropical cyclones, with around 718 000 deaths from them in the past 50 years. However, cyclone-related mortality in Bangladesh has declined by more than 100-fold over the past 40 years, from 500 000 deaths in 1970 to 4234 in 2007. The main factors responsible for these reduced fatalities and injuries are improved defensive measures, including early warning systems, cyclone shelters, evacuation plans, coastal embankments, reforestation schemes and increased awareness and communication. Although warning systems have been improved, evacuation before a cyclone remains a challenge, with major problems caused by illiteracy, lack of awareness and poor communication. Despite the potential risks of climate change and tropical storms, little empirical knowledge exists on how to develop effective strategies to reduce or mitigate the effects of cyclones. This paper summarizes the most recent data and outlines the strategy adopted in Bangladesh. It offers guidance on how similar strategies can be adopted by other countries vulnerable to tropical storms. Further research is needed to enable countries to limit the risks that cyclones present to public health.
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Climate change is projected to increase the intensity and frequency of disasters (floods, increased precipitation), the rise in temperature and sea level in Bangladesh, and the consequences of which will be felt across various sectors including wetlands and wetland-dependent ecosystems, biodiversity, agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture, and livelihoods of people. Hence, this will cause significant economic, social, and environmental challenges/problems for Bangladesh. The major negative impacts of climate change would be damage/destruction of wetland ecosystems and their biodiversity such as, loss or shift of breeding grounds of the Gangetic major carps in the Halda River, Chittagong; loss of Royal Bengal Tiger habitats in the Sundarbans; salinization of rice lands, freshwater aquaculture facilities, and aquifers; water quality problems in wetlands, i.e., algal blooms, low dissolved oxygen, and enhancement of toxins in seafood organisms (fish, prawn); and loss of tourism/recreational business (due to loss of biodiversity). The positive impacts of climate change such as floods would reestablish the connection between rivers and shallow lakes/wetlands, disperse biota/seeds, and enhance spawning and reproduction of native fishes. In order to reduce threats to various sectors, Bangladesh would need to adopt climate resilient development programs/actions including conserving wetlands/mangroves (which are biodiversity “hot spots” and act as major carbon sinks); conserving species with higher genetic diversity; use of 3F models (simultaneous forestry, food, and fish production in coastal areas) to reduce vulnerabilities in coastal communities; floating agriculture (waterlogged/flood-prone areas); and climate-smart aquaculture, rainwater harvesting, and use of renewable energy. Awareness and education programs including inclusion of climate change in curriculum at primary, secondary, and tertiary educational institutions would be essential. Bangladesh needs to act now, act together, and act differently to enhance development and reduce vulnerability to climate change for a sustainable future.