Fresh water crisis in Sundarbans

Around 80 fresh water ponds in the Sundarbans have been submerged in salt water due to the high tide caused by Cyclone Rimal. As a result, the biggest crisis in the Sundarbans is natural water. Because these ponds were the only source of fresh water for wildlife, foresters and forest workers staying in the forest. All of which are now submerged in salt water.

On Tuesday (June 4), Dhaka Reporters Unity’s Nasrul Hamid Auditorium held a meeting titled ‘Cyclone Rimal Post-Cyclone Coastal Situation and Emergency Actions’. Development organization ‘Leaders’ and civic organization ‘Sundarbans and Coast Protection Andolan’ organized the meeting.

Speakers at the meeting said that climate change is one of the biggest challenges. Although Bangladesh’s contribution to global warming is only 0.4 percent. However, Bangladesh ranks third among the countries most affected by disasters. Since 1991
By 2024, Bangladesh faces 201 major disasters. Cyclone Rimal is the latest addition to this list. It has created a crisis in the livelihood, wealth, food, water, shelter and other issues of the people of this country.

In addition to the township, the dredging of Payra River and the coastal embankments have suffered extensive damage in this cyclone. About 4.6 lakh people of 934 unions of 119 upazilas of coastal and surrounding 19 districts have suffered damage in this cyclone.

In the meeting, Mir Mohammad Ali, a fisheries resource expert and a teacher of Sher-e-Bangla Agricultural University, said that the entire biodiversity will be threatened if the invasion of salt water is not prevented. Freshwater ponds inundated with salt water from recent cyclones must be removed quickly. Otherwise the fish in the fresh water pond will die. Later, it will have a long-term effect on the fisheries sector of the entire country. These issues should be prioritized on an urgent basis and separate funds should be allocated for the coast. By doing this, it will be possible to reverse the damage to some extent.

Laila Parveen Senjuti, Member of Parliament for reserved women’s seat (Satkhira) said that Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhatiya coastal areas are the most vulnerable due to geographical location, frequent natural calamities, fragile infrastructure, poverty, long-term salinity. In this situation, it is necessary to declare the area as a special area or a climate risk area and initiate a long-term master plan.

Nikhil Chandra Bhadra, coordinator of Sundarbans and Coast Protection Movement, presided over the event. Md. Member of Parliament of Khulna-6 Constituency participated in the discussion. Rashiduzzaman, Member of Parliament for Bagerhat-4 Constituency HM Badiuzzaman Sohag, Environmental Expert, Coordinator of Waterkeepers Bangladesh Sharif Jamil, Fisheries Expert, Member Secretary of Development Stream Trust Aminur Rasul Babul.