Throughout the Ganges to southwest Bangladesh and the Sundarbans
The subsequent morning our group of 23 American and Bangladeshi college students and professors crossed the Jamuna River, because the Brahmaputra is understood right here, to the Sirajganj Onerous Level. This concrete embankment was constructed to guard the town of Sirajganj from the sluggish westward migration of the river. As a result of it now stands out into the river, they’ve been extending the land to the north and south to even out the financial institution. The Onerous Level additionally offered an excellent view throughout the Jamuna.
We then headed west for the lengthy drive to the Lalon Shah Bridge throughout the Ganges River, passing the nuclear energy plant that’s below building. On the opposite aspect we headed to Kushtia, the place the Gorai River branches off from the Ganges. Arriving within the afternoon, we headed straight to Shilaidaha Kuthibari, the house of Rabindranath Tagore winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize for Literature. His poems provide the phrases to the nationwide anthems of each Bangladesh and India.
The Gorai River, a significant provider of recent water to southwestern Bangladesh has been silting up. Folks argue as as to if it’s because of the Farrakka Barrage in India diverting water, pure river evolution or local weather change. From an embankment close to our resort, we may see a lot of the river lined with sand and dredgers for holding the channel clear.
We headed nearer to the place the Gorai meets the Ganges. Right here the sediment has shifted the financial institution by 1.5 km, narrowing the as soon as extensive offtake. Whereas our interview group, speaking to individuals about environmental change and migration, stayed to talk to individuals residing within the first village constructed exterior the unique embankment, the remainder of us walked throughout the sands to the river after which north to the Ganges alongside a more moderen embankment. We discovered dredgers filling within the land behind the brand new embankment with dredge spoils, banana orchards and visited a brick manufacturing facility, all on land that was once the Gorai River.
After gathering everybody, we stopped for a late lunch at our resort and started the lengthy drive to Khulna. After darkness fell, our velocity slowed in order that we didn’t get to the ghat (dock) till after 8pm. The wood nation boat transported us to our residence for the remainder of the journey, the M/V Kokilmoni. I’ve been on this 85-foot Sundarban vacationer boat a number of instances. For lots of SW Bangladesh and all the Sundarban Mangrove Forest, boats are the best technique to get round.
Our first cease is Sreenagar on Polder 32, an embanked island that was flooded for two years following Cyclone Aila in 2009. The island has saline groundwater, so individuals can solely develop one rice crop a 12 months planting in the course of the monsoon. We sailed partway there in the course of the night time so we may arrive within the morning. A brand new bridge constructed lately is simply too low for the Kokilmoni to move below, so we stopped earlier than it and used the nation boat for the final mile to Sreenagar.
Carol visiting with the household that owns the land containing her RSETs and watch over the gear.
Carol Wilson confirmed us her RSET instrumentation that measures elevation change and sedimentation. Kazi Matin Ahmed confirmed us a now unused Managed Aquifer Recharge system that shops monsoon water underground to enhance availability in the course of the dry season. The shortage of recent water in the course of the dry season is a significant difficulty right here. I spoke about my GPS, on one other a part of the island, for measuring land subsidence.
After their shows, we broke into 3 teams. The now skilled migration interview group was one. A second group is finding out panorama change from distant sensing, notably the growing tree cowl farther east. They are going to be conducting interviews to grasp the modifications seen by the satellites through the years. The rest, a bunch finding out flooding in NE Bangaldesh utilizing distant sensing, stayed with me and the opposite professors.
We met the household internet hosting Carol’s gear they usually instantly gave us cocoanut water and tamarind regardless of our protests. Masud and Carol then demonstrated how the RSET measurements are made at one in all her websites. Their measurements are confirming that the land contained in the embankment, receiving neither monsoon floodwater nor the sediment it carries in sinking. In the meantime the water stage, and the land open to the river, are rising. The 1-1.5 meter distinction in elevation is what precipitated the 2009 catastrophe as the inside of the polder flooded each excessive tide. And the issue is continuous to worsen. The polders initially improved agriculture, however the surprising subsidence is a problem to their sustainability. It has pressured some areas to change to shrimp farming as a substitute of rice rising.
We walked again to the embankment highway and continued alongside the island by foot, by autorickshaw and our nation boat, with the two interview groups becoming a member of us alongside the best way. We went to the positioning of a large-scale industrial shrimp farm over half a kilometer throughout. One of many interviewees that spoke to our college students spoke of being pressured off of her land, most likely by the shrimp farm. Maybe they solely leased their land relatively than truly proudly owning it.
We then all headed again to the Kokilmoni for a 3 o’clock lunch and set sail for the Sundarbans, stopping for firstly of the Sundarbans to select up and armed guard for the tigers. We had a barbeque on the boat on the fringe of the Sundarbans, earlier than crusing to our subsequent cease in the course of the night time.
Earlier than daybreak, all of us arose for a silent boat experience up a tidal channel in the midst of the forest. This channel was once a meander loop within the river we’re touring, however the river minimize it off. Many of the loop has crammed in with sediments and crops, so solely a small creek stays. We traveled in then minimize the engine and continued by oar alone to hope to see wildlife within the early morning. Sadly, it was a really foggy morning, so our sitings have been few. Nonetheless, we received to expertise the forest shut up. On the best way again to the Kokilmoni, the crew purchased fish from an area fisherman. As we ate breakfast, the Kokilmoni began heading south to Katka on the shore of the Bay of Bengal.