A Wake-Up Call?
Whether you know it or not, global warming affects our lives everyday. The sudden drizzling from time to time or the incredible rate at which our Igloos melt are all consequences of this earthly phenomenon. Bangladesh – irrespective of how tiny it may look in the atlas – has its fair share in the process. Over 70 million tonnes of pollution that can cause global warming shoots up in our atmosphere everyday, in which Bangladesh contributes as an emitter of carbon dioxide by burning fossil fuels.
However, our roles go beyond fuels and into the core of our very lifestyles.
Although Bangladesh’s population has been increasing at a decreasing rate over the past couple of years, the baby boom plays a major role in increasing carbon content in the air. With more resources being utilized to support the rising masses, greater quantities of harmful gases pollute our environment. Dhaka, being the centre of business has a multitude of people migrating to its alleys every day. As a result, rising traffic and unplanned urban infrastructure to support this mass increases the emission of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Uncontrolled consumption of utilities such as air-conditioners and out-of-date motor vehicles where both emit substantial quantities of harmful gases are few examples of how we contribute to the cycle every minute.
In addition, lack of awareness on proper utilization of industrial chemicals and recycling of industrial waste has played an incredible share in heightening Bangladesh’s part in global warming. In a maddening pursuit of financial gains at minimum labour and production costs, business and factories in the city are often set up at residential areas, thus affecting the neighbouring localities. Moreover, factory owners – being unaware of environment protection, imposed with a lack of funds or unguided by strict laws – tend to use technologies that consume maximum resources under dangerous conditions. Lakes and rivers become saturated with industrial waste, severely affective water ecology and settlements grow around them. With living conditions as grave as such and water bodies rapidly filling up, the atmosphere gets supersaturated with further carbon content.
However, surprising as it may seem, Bangladesh has recently begun to realize the effects of global warming and taken up measures in pursuit of its mitigation. Being a nation run by incompetent government(s) since its inception, the people of Bangladesh have – impressively – stepped up in making their own community changes. Students from BUET (Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology) have lately improvised a cell-phone system that allows early storm signals to reach to the masses rapidly. Nowadays, cell phones are a commonly used and accessible technology and this system claims to successfully take updates from the Central Weather Office and deliver them to the people. Its small results are evident with the lower number of deaths in Cyclone Aila earlier this year in comparison to Cyclone Sidr. It is believed that because the population in vulnerable areas were warned earlier, many lives were saved (although the damages to their livelihoods have still been devastating).
Furthermore, awareness and rehabilitation programs under the civil society are prime examples of people-driven methods. A large network of student bodies have been playing active roles in channelling financial contributions from general masses into nearly-accurate rehabilitation schemes implemented at affected areas. What the government and large NGOs have failed to do in years is now being successfully done by these small donators and community activists operating round the country.
There are things that give us hope. The devastations of climate change are unquestionable and will affect human progress through the next centuries. It is what we do as informed, conscious civilizations that may alter our futures. Bangladesh stands exemplary as a nation that has surged out of natural disasters via its people driven strategies in spite of being Mother Nature’s favourite punching bag. Fact is, we still have a long way to go where we must realize and work against climate change – for without our own initiatives, mankind will be in one big serious mess very soon.