author, climate activist raises alarm over Kolkata ‘sinking’ | Kolkata News

Kolkata: The city is under threat from climate change and needs a resilience committee to address the problem to plan what will happen and withstand disasters like major floods, said writer and social anthropologist Amitav Ghosh . During a brief trip to his home in south Kolkata on Sunday, Ghosh told TOI that the danger to the city stems from the fact that much of it lies below sea level and that a major flood could prove catastrophic for Kolkata.
“Kolkata is threatened for multiple reasons. Much of the city is below sea level and embankments have protected the city for a very long time. I was horrified to find in one of the UN flood impact reports that Dhakuria is one of the most endangered areas. I was alarmed and left thinking of ways to help my mother and sisters in the event of a catastrophic flood,” Ghosh said.
The danger to the city is amplified as the delta region is sinking four times faster than sea level rise, he said. “The sinking is caused by other man-made activities, such as pumping of groundwater, oil and gas. Thus, it will take much longer to get flood relief. People living in flood-prone areas should easy access to canned food and dry cell torches,” he said.
Bangladesh has successfully tackled climate change issues by disseminating information, sending out alerts and regular bulletins, he said. “In fact, Bangladesh has become a world leader in disseminating information on creating climate change resilience programs. There are so many innovations. Together with a Dutch team, they have created oyster beds around their islands to absorb the impact of rising sea levels. Bangladesh successfully banned single-use plastic many years ago . Even the United States couldn’t come close to banning single-use plastic,” the author said.
Ghosh, who has been traveling the Sunderbans for 20 years, found many facilities had reached the more remote areas. “A lot of embankments have been rebuilt and a lot of reinforcements have taken place.” But, he believes, the landfill is not a solution to the problem of the accelerating rate of climate change there. “Embankments cannot withstand sea level rise, nor storm surges,” he said.
People in the Sunderbans have ways of coping with the climate crisis, he stressed. “Many families have kept a small plot indoors, a sort of refuge. Many more migrated to the west coast. Many people from Sunderbans are now working in Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala. It’s a huge demographic shift,” he said.
Climate change is a global problem and the global system of governance must deal with it. Ghosh said the geopolitics of climate change is the biggest obstacle to a defined and collective global response to the problems of climate change. “In Paris, deal-rich countries pledged $100 billion for the climate resilience fund, not even a tenth of that has been delivered, and rich countries increased defense spending by $1.2 trillion. of dollars. So, behind the scenes, they are preparing for war. It became clearer with the situation in Ukraine,” Ghosh said.

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