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Stop ecocides to get respite from severe heatwaves

Published : Tuesday, 23 April, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 289

Stop ecocides to get respite from severe heatwaves

Stop ecocides to get respite from severe heatwaves

Bangladesh, once known for its moderate climate, has found itself thrust into the spotlight of environmental chaos. A series of unusual weather patterns, marked by devastating revenge from nature and unprecedented heatwaves, have transformed the landscape and the perceptions of its weather. The weather we are experiencing in Bangladesh is unfamiliar to us. It is reminiscent of the kind of extreme heat typically associated with desert regions like the Middle East, rather than our accustomed climate. While we have heard about such weather patterns occurring in distant desert lands, it is unsettling to find them becoming a reality in our own country.

Traditionally, Bangladesh has experienced a relatively stable climate, with seasonal variations that were manageable for its population. However, recent years have witnessed a dramatic shift. The onset of extreme weather events has shattered the norm. Among the most striking manifestations of this upheaval are the scorching heatwaves that now plague the region with alarming frequency. Once a land of mild temperatures and gentle breezes, Bangladesh now finds itself sweltering under the relentless blaze of the sun. The oppressive heat permeates every aspect of life, posing dire threats to health, agriculture, and infrastructure.

This transformation has prompted a profound reconsideration of Bangladeshs climate. No longer can it be characterized as moderate or predictable. Instead, it has become synonymous with unpredictability, volatility, and danger. The very essence of what it means to inhabit this land has been reshaped by the forces of natures vengeance.

The relentless heat of the desert now sears through the once-moderate lands of Bangladesh, leaving its inhabitants grappling with temperatures unheard of in previous years. As April unfolds, the mercury climbs steadily, reaching a staggering 43 degrees Celsius. But even this may be just the beginning, warns the meteorologist, as projections indicate that May could see the thermometer soar even higher, potentially reaching a scorching 45 degrees Celsius.

Such predictions paint a dire picture for the months ahead, as the oppressive heat shows no signs of relenting. What was once a time of mild spring weather has now become a trial by fire, with the very air shimmering with the intensity of the suns rays. The heat permeates every aspect of life, turning daily routines into endurance tests and casting a shadow of discomfort and concern over the populace.

Heatwaves disrupt normal life by impeding the ability of daily wage workers to earn a living due to unsafe outdoor working conditions, exacerbating financial strain on families; meanwhile, the closure of educational institutions ensures the safety of students and staff but disrupts learning and long-term academic progress. The United Nations issues warnings of high heatstroke risks, particularly for vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly, during heatwaves. These demographic groups are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses due to their bodies decreased ability to regulate temperature efficiently. As temperatures soar, the risk of heatstroke and other heat-related health issues escalates, necessitating proactive measures to protect those most at risk.

The threat posed by heatwaves extends beyond humans; it imperils the lives of birds and other animals as well. As temperatures soar to unprecedented levels, wildlife is pushed to its limits, struggling to find shelter, water, and food amidst the scorching heat. For birds, the soaring temperatures can disrupt nesting patterns, diminish food sources, and lead to dehydration and heat stress. Similarly, terrestrial animals face challenges in finding refuge from the sweltering sun and maintaining their physiological balance.

Why is it happening? The answer is very simple and clear. We destroy the nature and natural resources without considering the destructive effect of climate change. By relentlessly exploiting natural resources, clearing forests, emitting greenhouse gases, and polluting the environment, we have disrupted the Earths ecosystems and pushed the climate system out of equilibrium. The consequences of these actions are now glaringly evident: rising temperatures, erratic weather patterns, and extreme events like the heatwaves afflicting Bangladesh. The destructive effects of climate change serve as a stark reminder of the interconnectedness of all life on Earth and the profound impact of human actions on the planet.

Maintaining ecological balance is crucial for the sustainability of a countrys environment, and a key component of this balance is the preservation of forestland. Experts suggest that a minimum of 25% of a nations land should be covered by forests to support biodiversity, regulate climate, and provide essential ecosystem services. However, in our country, we currently have only about 17% forest coverage, a figure that continues to decline steadily.
Experts emphasize the critical importance of greening the environment as a key strategy to mitigate the impact of heatwaves and other extreme weather events. By increasing vegetation cover, such as through reforestation efforts and the creation of green spaces within urban areas, we can help to regulate temperatures, reduce heat island effects, and enhance resilience to heatwaves. Trees and plants provide shade, evaporative cooling, and absorb carbon dioxide, thereby helping to mitigate climate change and its associated impacts. Moreover, green spaces can improve air quality, promote biodiversity, and provide recreational opportunities for communities.

Minimizing the impact of heatwaves involves a comprehensive approach that includes both short-term and long-term strategies. Short-term actions include implementing heat emergency plans with early warning systems, while long-term strategies focus on urban planning with more green spaces and reflective surfaces to reduce the urban heat island effect. Building designs can incorporate better insulation and ventilation, while water management measures can prevent shortages during heatwaves. Public education plays a crucial role in raising awareness and providing guidance on staying safe during hot weather.

In conclusion, the unprecedented heatwaves sweeping across Bangladesh are not merely a temporary anomaly but a stark warning of the profound impacts of climate change. Once known for its moderate climate, Bangladesh now grapples with extreme temperatures that pose dire threats to human health, wildlife, and the environment. This transformation is a direct result of human activities that have disrupted the delicate balance of nature, leading to the destruction of forests, emission of greenhouse gases, and pollution of the environment. This entails preserving and expanding forest cover, greening urban environments, implementing heat emergency plans, and educating the public on staying safe during extreme weather events. It is high time we took effective steps to curb this natural calamity.

Why is Bangladesh Facing Unprecedented Heatwaves?

The writer is an Assistant Professor of Englilsh, Principal Kazi Faruky College, akshmipur

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