While many of the country’s rivers are disappearing, on the other hand many areas are increasingly at risk due to erosion. Approximately 22,900 people may become landless due to erosion by the three major rivers, Jamuna, Ganges and Padma, according to a recent study.
The Centre for Environmental and Geographic Information Services’ (CEGIS) study indicates roughly 12,840 people from areas near the Jamuna face losing everything while another 4640 face the same fate near the Ganges on the Bangladeshiside of the mighty river, and an estimated 5,420 are also at risk due to erosion by the Padma River.
Last year,erosion by these three major rivers lead to the disappearance of 3,690 hectares of arable land and 585 hectares of land where people were settled, damage to essential infrastructure includes 2.3kmlong embankments, innumerable roads, educational institutions, mosques, health centresand other structures.The Jamuna alone eroded 2408 hectares of land in 2012, affecting 24,000 people.
The study predictsif erosion continues unabated then at least 2,200 hectares of land, 338 of settlements, 5,960m active embankments and 7.5km of roadsmay be lost along the rivers Jamuna, Ganges and Padma this year. Also at risk are 48 educational institutions, 35 mosques, six markets and fourhealth centres, as well as several offices bothgovernment and non-government.
27 locations have been identified as most vulnerable to erosion by the Jamuna river in 2013, including seven areas in Kurigram, five in Gaibandha, one in Bogra, four in Sirajganj, two each in Jamalpur and Manikganj, and three in Tangail placing 1284 hectares of land and 216 hectares of settlement at risk. Sirajganj is the most vulnerable to erosion; about 315 hectares may be lost, while 240 hectares inn Kuringram and 195 hectares of Jamalpurare at risk, placing these districts at second and third spots.
Similarly, last year the Ganges eroded about 580 hectares of land and the CEGIS study found 10 locations most vulnerable to erosion by the Ganges, among them there are four in Rajshahi, two in Nawabganj, and one each in Pabna, Kushtia, Rajbari and Pabna. Nearly 464 hectares of land and 59 hectares of settlement is at risk, with Nawabganj most vulnerable to but areas in Rajshahi are expected to suffer the highest loss of land, around 157 hectares.
Along the Padma, the study found four vulnerable locations, among them area areas in Faridpur, Manikganj and Dhaka and two in Shariatpur. Approximately 542 hectares of land and 63 hectares of settlement are at risk in these areas, with maximum erosion predicted in Faridpur and Shariatpur.