Revolutionary strategy for flood prone Countries?

Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable countries looking at climate change. Located in South Asia, it is a relatively low located country, where of 70% is located barely over 1 meter above sea level. It is also home to many rivers and lakes which make up 10% of the country, as well as having a coastline of 580 km. Bangladesh has a tropical climate, consisting of monsoon rain seasons where rainfall is high, as well as high temperatures and high humidity. Due to the large amount of rivers and heavy rainfall Bangladesh is a victim of yearly devastating floods. A large delta plain has formed making Bangladesh’s soil very fertile but also very vulnerable to these floods. It is also one of the worlds most populated countries, with a population of just under 157 million (Geography). A combination of high population and vulnerable land makes the destructive powers of flooding very dangerous and harmful. The climate change effects makes it very hard for Bangladesh to develop economically and socially. However, trying to decrease the amount of damage floods can cause, Bangladesh has already put in place a few strategies, these strategies are very different looking at the techniques used in Europe. One of these I will be discussing is the floating garden (Rahman, 180). However could this be adapted on a more international level and in flood prone countries such as the Netherlands? Or is such a strategy only beneficial in Bangladesh. As climate change is continuously worsening and flooding keeps getting intenser, it is important for Bangladesh to prepare and adapt for the risk and future of its citizens.

As the soil in Bangladesh is very fertile, it makes agriculture an important part of Bangladesh’s economy, contributing to 20% of the national GDP and providing over 63% of the employment. However due to the frequent flood threats crops are often wiped out within hours leaving many hungry and in an economical despair. However a solution has been created for this problem. This is locally called a Baira, also known as a floating garden. These floating gardens have been locally practiced for years. These gardens function largely as a providing food source for people and families during floods. They are made up of a soilless raft which provides a good base to grow plants and vegetables on, seen as in figure 1). The nutrition needed for the plants to grow, either comes from the water it floats on or through compost placed on my the people. These Bairas not only help the growth of the crops but also allows the crops to survive during a flood, as they float and move with the water. Also these floating gardens can provide an alternative source for income, as excess crops can locally be sold. Also the mobility of these gardens allow families whose homes have been lost to be able to move around without the risk of food scarcity. This was a great innovation that has helped many people all around Bangladesh reduce famines and economical damage during floods (Rahman, 180).

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(Figure 1. Floating Garden construction: http://www.coastalcooperation.net/part-III/III-3-3-8.pdf)

Though floating gardens have been very beneficial to Bangladesh, bringing it to a country such as the Netherlands could possibly not work. As a majority of the Dutch population lives in urban cities, there could be a question of if there is enough space for all citizens to own a floating garden. As the Netherlands has a well working dike system the Netherlands never seems to encounter mild flooding, as seen in Bangladesh, if flooding were to occur in the Netherlands it would be at such an intensity that the floating gardens would not likely survive the flooding, and therefor be of no advantage (Irfanullah, 37).

In conclusion, It can be seen that floating gardens are very beneficial to the population of Bangladesh during times of flood. It is an easy and sustainable measure which is a useful way of climate change adaptation. However this solution would be less useful on a more international scale and for now can only seem to be advantageous in certain countries, including Bangladesh.

“Geography.” Infoplease. Sandbox Networks, 2016. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.

Irfanullah, Haseeb MD. “Floating Gardening in Bangladesh: A Means to Rebuild Lives after Devastating Flood.” Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge (2011): 31-38. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.

Rahman, Atiq. “Floating Vegetable Bed Cultivation.” Climate of Coastal Cooperation. Leiden: Coastal & Marine Union, 2011. 179-80. Print.

 

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4 thoughts on “Revolutionary strategy for flood prone Countries?”

  1. Thank you for sharing this interesting form of climate adaptation in Bangladesh. I especially like the part that these type of gardens make people more mobile and resilient during flood season. However, I was wondering if salt water would ruin the crops during the wet seasons and how you would make sure people would adapt to new techniques of farming as it might require different maintenance.

    I found another interesting article stating that pumpkins will grow on salty sandbars, so this might be a crop that would be useful to grow in these areas. Maybe other people have good ideas on how these issues can be tackled?

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    1. Hi Josephine,

      I was wondering while reading, how does this work out:
      “Also the mobility of these gardens allow families whose homes have been lost to be able to move around without the risk of food scarcity. ”

      You will not be able to greate a house on a floating garden rght? Or am I to narrow minded?

      Can you please make this more clear.

      Gr. Jaco

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  2. Really interesting post! Thank you very much for that link. I was amazed to read that even crops as heavy as pumpkins can be grown on them. Since it says that the rafts are used in salinity prone areas I suppose that occasional sea flooding is not a problem. However I would be interested to know about crops that actually thrive in slightly salty water since I am not aware of any. Did you happen to find any information on that topic?

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