Effect of climate change on Sundarban

 Artists of Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives have a duty.

File Photo
by Swadesh Roy

(August 11, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Sundarban (meaning `beautiful forest’ in Bengali) a Mangrove forest at the vast delta of the Bay of Bengal. This forest is unique for both ecological reason and the man-eater, `The Royal Bengal Tiger’. It is a tropical forest. It is also unique for the human culture of that area. A large number of people living in this area depend upon this forest, so their culture has grown forest based. Both Hindus and Muslims of this area worship a deity called Bonbibi (meaning the Queen of the forest).

This Mangrove forest and the locality of this area are now in danger due to climate changes. Sea level is rising, so a few land of this area already sank. Two islands have been vanished from the map. Cyclone Aila struck in 2009, destroying many of the inhabitants’ homes. They still fight to survive. Many of them have migrated from this area to other places of the country. A non-government organization has made a survey on this migration. Its result shows that more than 50 thousand people from Bangladesh part of this area already has migrated to the other place of the country. Professor Sugata Hazra told BBC that 600 people from Indian part of this area migrated to other place. Due to the climate change, not only the people of this land are in vulnerable position, the Sundarban is also in danger now. The balance of the meeting point of freshwater and seawater of Sundarban breaks down. Recently the UNESCO through a case study warns that at the end of the 21st century about 75% Mangrove will be perished.

The effect of the climate change in this Mangrove forest and its land inhabitants cannot draw a proper attention of the world community. Even then, in the summit of the climate change in Cancun last year couldn’t draw proper attention through any speech of any leaders. At last, it made a little attention by photojournalist Peter Caton’s photograph exhibition. It was proved that, photograph are more powerful than any speech. One year later after the Cancun Summit a photographer named, Jongsung Paul Choe arranged a photograph exhibitions on the Sundarban at Bengal Gallery in Dhaka, the capitol of Bangladesh . Jongsung Paul Choe is not a photojournalist. He is a professor of department of photography and video of Kyungi University, Korea.

This smart and young South Korean professor has taken the entire photograph in Black and white. All over, the world knows that, the Sundarban is a beautiful for his green color but Paul Choe never tries to keep this green in his photographs. He used only black and white. I asked him, “why did you use only black and white?” He answered, “if it would be colorful then people would see the picture fast but now people will get opportunity to think about the photograph.” He is hundred percent right, his photograph make people think. Not only that, the black and white color picture makes a melancholy environment. That environment helps us to think that, this forest is in danger; it will not sustain in future. Paul Choe also said that, this sadness inspires him to take the photograph of the Sundarban. So the exhibitions of Paul Choe not only shows the nature of the Sundarban but also make people think about its danger position. Dedicated photographer Paul Choe said that, his purpose is that, People will think, this forest is in danger for the climate change effects.

When any Bangladeshi and any Indian will see his exhibition or his photographs, they will evidently think that, a South Korean Teacher of Photography has done a great job for our Mangrove forest. However, Paul Choe is an artist, he has done his job for a forest on the earth; not a forest of his own country. Artist is never for any country, s/he is for the world. In spite of that, the artists of Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives have a duty to work for drawing attention of the world about the effect of climate Change. These countries are in danger for sea level rising. They must have to follow Jongsung Paul Choe.

Swadesh Roy, Executive Editor, The Daily Janakantha, Dhaka, Bangladesh. swadeshroy@gmail.com.

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