Climate change can be described as the change in factors like temperature and weather over a long period of time. The effect of climate change has been observed worldwide. It has led to a major loss in the economy and caused environmental damage. Many countries have faced climate change-related natural disasters. These include droughts, floods, landslides, cyclones, and more. One of the countries that are most vulnerable to climate change in Bangladesh. It is a small country known as one of the most populated countries in the world. The topography of Bangladesh that it is prone to sea-level rise and flooding. The capital of the country is Dhaka. It is situated on the Ganges and Brahmaputra delta. The city is the financial capital of the country and a large population migrates to the city to earn a living. However, Dhaka is the most disaster-prone city as well. It has a long history of natural disasters, particularly cyclones and floods. The disasters result in a large number of deaths and economic losses. People lose their houses and loved ones. Frequent disasters have forced many to move out of the city and even the country to find work. The aim of this paper is to analyze the situation of migration in Dhaka, Bangladesh from an environmental viewpoint. It involves an examination of Dhaka’s geographical location and the effects of climate change in the country. In this paper, the solution of the crisis at the local, national, and global levels is suggested based on the analysis.
The highly populated city of Dhaka consists of a large number of water bodies. The city was established on the banks of the Buriganga and It is surrounded by Balu, Sitalakhya, Turag, Tongi Khal, and Dhaleshwari (Morshed Yorke and Zhang 2017). It is the part of the delta region with a sea level of 1.5 to 13 meters. The climate throughout the year changed from hot and humid in May to October and dry from November to February (Subrina and Chowdhury 2018). Overall the climate is humid sub-tropical monsoon. The average temperature during winter ranges from 17.0 to 20.6 and 26.9 to 31.1 °C during winter. The city receives approximately 2000mm of rainfall every year which is less than the country’s average however there are studies that suggest extreme rainfall in the region will increase over time ( Mahbub et al. 2019). These geographical factors along with the population help in studying the environmental and migration problem of the city.
The city has suffered a number of natural disasters including cyclones, hurricanes, and storm surges. The impact of storm surges is much more due to the flat and low coastal region. It is an unavoidable natural disaster that puts the city at risk of flooding. Heavy rain in the region worsens the damage caused by tropical cyclones and surge storms. Annually around 3.48 million are affected by river flooding in Bangladesh. Apart from flooding, Dhaka faces a high risk of earthquakes. The high population density increases the damage caused by this disaster. It was estimated that to deal with earthquakes at least five million people need to move out of the city or resettle (Rahman Abdullah and Murad 2018). Dhaka is an overpopulated megacity that has seen a population growth of 53% in the last decade. Even though it is the largest city in the country the lack of infrastructure has forced people to move to slums. This makes them more vulnerable to earthquake hazards. The poor infrastructure overpopulation and heavy rainfall have led to another man-made disaster called waterlogging. Every year almost 60% of the city is flooded by the water of the Balu River ( Alam et al. 2021). This further results in an outbreak of vector-borne diseases. The 2019 dengue outbreak in Dhaka had 44,986 patients and 148 deaths were reported ( Taufiq 2021). Waterlogging and the diseases outspread are long terms after-effects of flooding.
Impact of Climate Change on Migration in Dhaka
Migration is the movement of people in the country for various purposes like employment, secure residence, and more. Bangladesh has this kind of migration a lot. A lot of people in Bangladesh move to Dhaka and it is the financial capital of the country. People move there with the expectation of finding money-making resources. Climate change effect the migration in the country too. One of these is the adverse effect on agriculture-based livelihood. Bangladesh is a developing country that is based on an agro-economy. A large population of the country depends on agriculture however being in the coastal region, the country faces natural disasters that lead to environmental degradation like salinization, inundation, and soil erosion. These disasters are triggered more by climate change (Hoque 2019). This affects the country’s economy. Around 35% of the GDP of the country is generated from the agriculture sector. Rice yielding is a major business in Bangladesh. The drastic change in temperature and rainfall has harshly affected rice agriculture (Hossain 2019). The citizens are losing their livelihood and are forced to move to Dhaka for new opportunities. However, migration to Dhaka is leading to crowding and manmade disaster in the city (Iqbal 2021). Citizens are further forced to immigrate from the country. Immigration is the movement of citizens of one country to another. There are various kinds of immigrants. Most of the citizens that move from Bangladesh are environmental refugees. Climate refugees or environmental refugees are people dislocated by human-induced global warming and climate change (Brisman South and Walters 2018). A large population of Bangladesh has immigrants to the neighboring country. In 2001,, almost 16% of the people in Assam were refugees from Bangladesh (Saikia). The larges displacement of people from the country is described as a crisis by many. It is predicted that approximately every seven citizens of Bangladesh would have to resettle due to climate change(Climate Displacement in Bangladesh, 2022). Apart from disruption of livelihood, immigration and climate change also impact the quality of living and security. Women and children are suffering disproportionately due to this. Women are who already earn lesser wages than men have to live in poverty after migrating to the city or another country. Immigration puts them at higher risk of human trafficking as well. Women and children are trafficked to other countries by promising an opportunity for beer life and income. Immigrants of the country also face labor exploitation such as forced labor, slavery. Over 91% of Bangladeshi migrants have are migration-related debts like broker’s fees and non-payment from employers (Zimmerman and Kiss 2017). The migration and immigration of the citizens impact the socio-economic status of the country.
Bangladesh’s economy gets a large contribution from the agriculture sector. It has a major contribution to a country’s GDP(Gross domestic product) and also provides employment to 45 percent of the labor force (Rahman 2017). However, this sector is one of the most vulnerable to climate change-based disasters. This further harms the economy. These disasters impact land use and production pattern. Along with that Fishing also contribute to the economy of the country. In the year 2014-15, it has contributed 3.69 percent to the GDP (Rahman 2017). Marine fisheries are impacted by climate change factors like sea surface temperature, ultraviolet radiation, sea-rise level, and acidity of ocean water. Bangladesh is one of the countries where adverse change in these factors was observed (Ding et al.). Due to this, citizens are facing issues like unemployment and food scarcity. People are escaping the rural regions of Bangladesh and moving to urban cities like Dhaka. However, this internal migration has people completing for employment. It leads to faster urbanization but also causes urban poverty. It also worsens the living condition of the people there. Since most of the rural migrants are unskilled labor and they opt for jobs like rickshaw pulling and similar manual labor. According to a survey conducted in 2014, around two-thirds of the rickshaw pullers were from agricultural work. It also suggests that one-third of these workers were not able to increase their income (Hasan 2019). Although the city of Dhaka is not exempted from climate change disasters. Hence, the labor force of the city is forced to move out of the country as well. International migration is expected to decrease unemployment and poverty in the country. The remittance received positively impacts the country’s economy. It enhances the GDP and helps in improving the living standards for the citizens of the country. However, in comparison with other countries Bangladesh receives less remittance(Sutradhar 2020). The laborers from the country are considered less skilled and less paid. After Covid-19, Bangladesh is facing a 25% decrease in remittance (Anejan and Islam 2020). This has negatively impacted the nation’s economy. Since a large part of the country’s economy is dependent on international migration and remittance.
Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture and Fishing Sector
Various Climate change solutions can be implemented at the local, national, or global level.
At the local level, one of the most important steps is to educate people about the impact and cause of natural disasters. School-going children can be educated about climate change and its effects by adding it to the school curriculum. In addition, sustainable practices need to be adopted by individuals. This could be adapting the solar power technology to generate electricity or recycling to reduce waste generation. The areas that receive floods need houses with plinths to minimize the damage caused by the disaster. The local agriculture workers can adopt vermicomposting. It is a sustainable waste management method that involves the conversion of organic material into compost using worms (Alshehrei and Ameen 2021). It can help in improving crop yielding. It is also important to adapt according to climate change. Sea-level rise often affects cultivation last. Although this saline-affected area can be utilized to cultivate saline tolerant crabs. Another alternative is shrimp farming. This will not only reduce the wastage of land destroyed by floods but also provide a new source of income to the farmers. They can also adapt water irrigation methods that are more sustainable.
Bangladesh needs policies to deal with climate change as well as plans for climate-based natural disasters and management. Bangladesh has an environmental policy of 1992. It was formulated after the Rio conference. It recognizes the environmental impact and includes a framework that addresses elements like maintenance of ecological balance along with the development of the country, identifying the practices and industries contributing to pollution. The policy needs a plan to implement proper chemical waste management for industries and control the production of greenhouse gases. Further changes in the agricultural sector can be beneficial. Rainwater can be conserved by raising the farmland by 6 inches to conserve water. Farmers should be encouraged and provided resources to use the Alternate wetting and drying water management technique. The country also needs a firm policy for disaster management. The National Plan for Disaster Management 2010-2015 addresses the plan and developmental changes required and includes the framework of response and recovery in case of a natural disaster (National Plan for Disaster Management (2010 - 2015), 2022). It aims at protecting and reducing the effects of environmental and human-induced hazards. For urban locations like Dhaka flood risk management plans are needed. For this proper flood, mapping is required. This helps in understanding which areas will be affected by floods and the severity of the damage. The information can assist in future decision-making. The mapping is followed by flood modeling to get the practical idea of terrains and topology for analysis. Lastly based on this information risk management measures like floodwater barriers, flood-proof buildings structures, and water storage structures can be implemented. The aftermath of the flood in an urban area is the waterlogging disaster. A proper drainage system in the city can help in the prevention of waterlogging. An early warning system can avoid possible mishaps. Although the waterlogging disaster is not just a problem for the urban areas. It causes the destruction of crops in agricultural land. To recover from the harm caused by it, crops need a supply of phosphorus (P), potassium (K), manganese (Mn), Zinc (Zn), and nitrogen (N).
Urbanization and Labor Exploitation
Climate change is a global issue and requires global action to control its impact. One of the most important steps towards this is reducing Carbon emissions. It requires control over human activities deforestation, industrialization, and energy consumption. The mode of transportation can also affect carbon emissions. Less air travel can significantly reduce it. Switching to biofuel can also help in this purpose. Biofuel is a sustainable alternative to petroleum that is produced from biomass. The use of renewable energy resources needs to be promoted around the globe. Hydropower, geothermal, and bioenergy can be utilized by different industries. Some other climate positive actions and concepts that governments around the world can implement are-
Green transition: It is the investment in technology that diminishes carbon emissions and improves the economy. The aim is to make changes in transportation and industrialization to decline pollution.
Green jobs: It describes the job that has a positive impact on the environment or works towards the preservation of nature. The job could be in any sector like agriculture, manufacturing, or services but the goal is to work for the protection and restoration of the environment.
Green economy: The green economy focuses on sustainable consumption, low carbon production along with economic development. It revolves around five basic principles- the wellbeing of the community, environmental justice, preserving the ecosystem, efficient development solutions, and good governance.
Green money: Green money or eco currency is the fund or investment towards the promotion of the environmental economy.
From the above discussion, it can be concluded that Bangladesh and Dhaka are vulnerable to the impact of climate change. The geography of the region helps in understanding the reason behind frequent natural disasters in the region. The city is surrounded by water bodies, putting it at high risk of flooding due to cyclones, storm surges, and heavy rainfall. This has further led to a migration crisis in the city and the country. These natural disasters cause loss of life and property. Hence, people from various regions of Bangladesh migrate to the capital city, Dhaka for work opportunities and security. However, Dhaka faces man-made waterlogging disasters too. People are forced to seek refuge in other countries. Climate change-based natural disaster and migration has an effect on a nation’s economy. As people lose livelihood in disaster, they move to the city for employment. Internal migration contributes to urban poverty. Those migrating to other countries contribute to the economy through remittance. The issue of climate change can be tackled by taking necessary actions at the local, national, and global levels. People need to be educated about the subject and taught sustainable practices that can reduce carbon footprint. At the national level, policies are needed to implement environment-friendly plans. Additionally, Government can issue disaster management guidelines to initiate quick recovery and minimize the damage. Global actions are most impactful for limiting climate change. There various climate-friendly concepts that can be adapted by nations worldwide. Switching to renewable and sustainable energy sources can have a major influence on climate
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