Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Reference: Destruction on a global level, Bangkok Post, December 17, 2009
The soil salinity problem in southern Bangladesh has been misrepresented as an effect of carbon dioxide and "rising seas" (Destruction on a global level, Bangkok Post, December 17, 2009). Shrimp farming did not take root because of soil salinity as claimed in the article. Rather, soil salinity took root because of shrimp farming as explained below.
The export oriented shrimp farming boom in Bangladesh started twenty years ago and it caused large coastal agricultural areas to be leased, flooded with sea water, and converted into commercial shrimp farms. The boom went bust in 2008 after the financial crisis dried up the market for large and expensive shrimp in the West and the shrimp farms are being abandoned as a result.
Abandoned shrimp farms leave behind agricultural wastelands because the salinity of the soil caused by shrimp farming makes it impossible to grow traditional crops. Farmers who leased their land out to shrimp producers now face a tragic situation because the leases have been terminated and they have taken possession of their farms but they can't grow anything on them.
It is a sad tale of human suffering and it deserves the attention of the appropriate relief agencies but it has absolutely nothing to do with carbon dioxide.