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January 1, 2015

United Nations analyzes oil spill in Sundarbans, Bangladesh

United Nations analyzes oil spill in Sundarbans, Bangladesh

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

A United Nations (UN) team assessed the damage from an early December oil spill in Sundarbans, Bangladesh, to the world’s largest mangrove forest. Team leader Emilia Wahlstrom yesterday presented preliminary assessment results at a press conference in the capital, Dhaka.

Mangrove forests in Sundarbans, Bangladesh in 2008.
Image: Sayamindu Dasgupta.

The 25-member UN team arrived in Bangladesh on December 18 and visited the Sundarbans from December 22 to December 27.

At the press conference, Wahlstrom said the pollution was spread 40 kilometers up and downstream, but no impact on the mangrove forest floor was observed. She said the Pashur and Shela rivers contributed by washing some of the oil. She also suggested a ban on water traffic in the area, saying “regular monitoring and stopping traffic through the Sundarbans are needed to tackle the long-term impact.”

Anwar Hossain Manju, Minister for Forest and Environmental Affairs of Bangladesh, acknowledged that vessel traffic in Sundarbans was suspended. He also said “alternative options” were “being explored”.

Wahlstrom also commented cleanup by local villagers removed about a fifth of the oil spill.

On December 9, the OT Southern Star 7 tanker sank in an accident with another vessel. Reportedly visibility was poor due to thick fog. OT Southern Star 7 was carrying about 350,000 L of fuel oil.

Sundarbans is a World Heritage Site. The UN plans to release a final report in two weeks.



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  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg 2014 Sundarbans oil spill

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May 25, 2009

Cyclone in Bay of Bengal kills at least 17

Cyclone in Bay of Bengal kills at least 17

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Monday, May 25, 2009

India
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A cyclone struck coastal areas of Bangladesh and India, causing flooding. At least seventeen people have been killed as a result of the storm, and thousands have been left homeless.

Location of India
Image: Ssolbergj.

Winds reaching 100 kilometres per hour in Kolkata, the capital of India’s West Bengal province, have uprooted trees and destroyed communication lines.

“The situation is very grave, countless families have been displaced, especially in the Sundarbans,” said Kanti Ganguly, the state minister of the Sundarbans region of Western Bengal.

Airport operations in Kolkata were stopped as a result of the inclement weather; several Kolkata-bound flights were diverted elsewhere, and flights scheduled to depart were cancelled.

Cquote1.svg “This isn’t an unusually strong cyclone and we don’t expect damage to be widespread.” Cquote2.svg

—Ajith Tyagi

The India Meteorological Department has said that the cyclone will likely subside within 24 hours. “We expect the wind speed to peak in the next 24 hours. This isn’t an unusually strong cyclone and we don’t expect damage to be widespread,” said the department’s director general, Ajith Tyagi.



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December 24, 2006

Inhabited tropical island lost to rising seas

Filed under: Archived,Asia,Climate change,Environment,India,Sundarbans — admin @ 5:00 am

Inhabited tropical island lost to rising seas

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Lohachara, seen submerged on the bottom-left

The Independent reports that an inhabited island has been completely submerged for the first time as a result of rising sea levels caused by global warming. The disappearance of the island of Lohachara, part of West Bengal’s Sundarbans and once home to over ten thousand people, is a milestone in some of climate scientists’ darker predictions.

The first uninhabited islands recorded to have disappeared were part of the Pacific atoll nation of Kiribati, and were submerged over eight years ago. However, the disappearance of Lohachara and the displacement of its ten thousand residents was unprecedented.

Refugees from Lohachara and the nearby island of Ghoramara fled to Sagar, an island that has already lost 7500 acres of land to the sea. Ghoramara is presently about two thirds submerged. A total of a dozen islands, home to seventy thousand people, are projected to be submerged by the rising seas during the next fourteen years.

During each monsoon season almost all the Bengali delta is submerged, much of it for half a year. A 1990 study noted that “There is no evidence that environmental degradation in the Himalayas or a ‘greenhouse’-induced rise in sea level have aggravated floods in Bangladesh.”

Sources

  • H. Brammer. July 1990 “Floods in Bangladesh: II. Flood Mitigation and Environmental Aspects”, The Geographical Journal vol.156 no.2 pp.158-165
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