Photographer: Supratim Bhattacharjee
Title: Sinking Sundarbans
Location: Sundarbans, West Bengal, India
Period: 05/2020 - 11/2021
Category: Environment

Sundarbans is on the verge of a climatic crisis. The land which is the common ground between India and Bangladesh (4000 sq. km out of the total land of 10,000 sq. km is owned by India) once stood as a barrier before the gusty cyclonic winds. Gradually, as years passed by, island dwellers having no alternatives to income started using the forest resources to earn economy. Trees are cut down rigorously from the mangrove forest for fuel wood and economy. This, the green forest cover of the richest mangrove forest is vanishing leading to global warming.
After deforestation, another factor that has been raging massive threat to the land is soil erosion. Having not enough trees to hold the soil during high tides and rainfalls, the mangrove region has lost several hundred sq. km to the sea. It has become more susceptible to violent water attacks.
Rising water levels has also degraded the cultivable land quality and reduced crop yield irking food and drinking water crisis. During the COVID-19 lock downs, the locals here had to fight with the unseen virus, joblessness (those who worked as migration laborers in different parts of India) and the wild nature in the form of super cyclones like Amphaan and Yaas. The storms caused massive destruction rendering them homeless and without food.
Devastating floods, intense storms, and torrential rains have now become frequent here. In the last few years, super cyclones like Aila, Amphaan, Yaas, etc. have changed the geography of the land. Due to frequent cyclones the almost 102 Sundarbans islands (which falls in India out of which only 52 are inhabitable) are rapidly sinking into the sea. Water has devoured parts of Mousuni and Ghoramara Island. If this continues then in the near future Kolkata might also get submerged under water.



SinkingSundarbans_001

May 25 2021 A woman shouting for help as the sea water is entering her home due to cyclone Yaas The Indo-Bangladesh region popular as the World Heritage site the Sundarbans is known for its exquisite forest resources Thus the locals depend on forest resources for income However over the last few years global warming has become a rising concern Owing to the indiscriminate cutting down of trees for commercial and domestic use has created an imbalance on the deltaic islands The land has become weak and a frequent victim of natural disasters Storms heavy rainfall and flood wrecks havoc here Approximately 3 14 mm rise in sea levels every year has taken several islands under the sea Increased soil erosion loss of soil quality resulting in minimized crop yield have made situations worse Moreover water has already devoured parts of Mousuni and Ghoramara Island If situations continue to be like this a major part of Sundarbans will soon go underwater

SinkingSundarbans_002

August 18 2020 Tidal waves on Namkhana Island have flooded a house The Indo-Bangladesh region popular as the World Heritage site the Sundarbans is known for its exquisite forest resources Thus the locals depend on forest resources for income However over the last few years global warming has become a rising concern Owing to the indiscriminate cutting down of trees for commercial and domestic use has created an imbalance on the deltaic islands The land has become weak and a frequent victim of natural disasters Storms heavy rainfall and flood wrecks havoc here Approximately 3 14 mm rise in sea levels every year has taken several islands under the sea Increased soil erosion loss of soil quality resulting in minimized crop yield have made situations worse Moreover water has already devoured parts of Mousuni and Ghoramara Island If situations continue to be like this a major part of Sundarbans will soon go underwater

SinkingSundarbans_003

August 20 2020 High tides in Fraserganj Sundarbans is wrecking havoc to the kutcha and pucca houses The Indo-Bangladesh region popular as the World Heritage site the Sundarbans is known for its exquisite forest resources Thus the locals depend on forest resources for income However over the last few years global warming has become a rising concern Owing to the indiscriminate cutting down of trees for commercial and domestic use has created an imbalance on the deltaic islands The land has become weak and a frequent victim of natural disasters Storms heavy rainfall and flood wrecks havoc here Approximately 3 14 mm rise in sea levels every year has taken several islands under the sea Increased soil erosion loss of soil quality resulting in minimized crop yield have made situations worse Moreover water has already devoured parts of Mousuni and Ghoramara Island If situations continue to be like this a major part of Sundarbans will soon go underwater

SinkingSundarbans_004

May 20 2020 This house on Sundarbans Gadhkhali Island has been totally damaged by the super cyclone Amphan The Indo-Bangladesh region popular as the World Heritage site the Sundarbans is known for its exquisite forest resources Thus the locals depend on forest resources for income However over the last few years global warming has become a rising concern Owing to the indiscriminate cutting down of trees for commercial and domestic use has created an imbalance on the deltaic islands The land has become weak and a frequent victim of natural disasters Storms heavy rainfall and flood wrecks havoc here Approximately 3 14 mm rise in sea levels every year has taken several islands under the sea Increased soil erosion loss of soil quality resulting in minimized crop yield have made situations worse Moreover water has already devoured parts of Mousuni and Ghoramara Island If situations continue to be like this a major part of Sundarbans will soon go underwater

SinkingSundarbans_005

May 28 2021 Water entering Sundarbans island breaking river embankments The Indo-Bangladesh region popular as the World Heritage site the Sundarbans is known for its exquisite forest resources Thus the locals depend on forest resources for income However over the last few years global warming has become a rising concern Owing to the indiscriminate cutting down of trees for commercial and domestic use has created an imbalance on the deltaic islands The land has become weak and a frequent victim of natural disasters Storms heavy rainfall and flood wrecks havoc here Approximately 3 14 mm rise in sea levels every year has taken several islands under the sea Increased soil erosion loss of soil quality resulting in minimized crop yield have made situations worse Moreover water has already devoured parts of Mousuni and Ghoramara Island If situations continue to be like this a major part of Sundarbans will soon go underwater

SinkingSundarbans_006

May 25 2021 A woman passing through a flooded land in order to collect drinking water due to a cyclone Yaas The Indo-Bangladesh region popular as the World Heritage site the Sundarbans is known for its exquisite forest resources Thus the locals depend on forest resources for income However over the last few years global warming has become a rising concern Owing to the indiscriminate cutting down of trees for commercial and domestic use has created an imbalance on the deltaic islands The land has become weak and a frequent victim of natural disasters Storms heavy rainfall and flood wrecks havoc here Approximately 3 14 mm rise in sea levels every year has taken several islands under the sea Increased soil erosion loss of soil quality resulting in minimized crop yield have made situations worse Moreover water has already devoured parts of Mousuni and Ghoramara Island If situations continue to be like this a major part of Sundarbans will soon go underwater

SinkingSundarbans_007

May 26 2020 A house has been totally damaged by the super cyclone Amphan on Kultali island in the Sundarbans The Indo-Bangladesh region popular as the World Heritage site the Sundarbans is known for its exquisite forest resources Thus the locals depend on forest resources for income However over the last few years global warming has become a rising concern Owing to the indiscriminate cutting down of trees for commercial and domestic use has created an imbalance on the deltaic islands The land has become weak and a frequent victim of natural disasters Storms heavy rainfall and flood wrecks havoc here Approximately 3 14 mm rise in sea levels every year has taken several islands under the sea Increased soil erosion loss of soil quality resulting in minimized crop yield have made situations worse Moreover water has already devoured parts of Mousuni and Ghoramara Island If situations continue to be like this a major part of Sundarbans will soon go underwater

SinkingSundarbans_008

May 26 2020 Villagers work hard to repair the river embankments of Sundarbans Haldergheri village The Indo-Bangladesh region popular as the World Heritage site the Sundarbans is known for its exquisite forest resources Thus the locals depend on forest resources for income However over the last few years global warming has become a rising concern Owing to the indiscriminate cutting down of trees for commercial and domestic use has created an imbalance on the deltaic islands The land has become weak and a frequent victim of natural disasters Storms heavy rainfall and flood wrecks havoc here Approximately 3 14 mm rise in sea levels every year has taken several islands under the sea Increased soil erosion loss of soil quality resulting in minimized crop yield have made situations worse Moreover water has already devoured parts of Mousuni and Ghoramara Island If situations continue to be like this a major part of Sundarbans will soon go underwater

SinkingSundarbans_009

May 21 2020 Villagers of Namkhana island have queued to collect their share of relief after super cyclone Amphan The Indo-Bangladesh region popular as the World Heritage site the Sundarbans is known for its exquisite forest resources Thus the locals depend on forest resources for income However over the last few years global warming has become a rising concern Owing to the indiscriminate cutting down of trees for commercial and domestic use has created an imbalance on the deltaic islands The land has become weak and a frequent victim of natural disasters Storms heavy rainfall and flood wrecks havoc here Approximately 3 14 mm rise in sea levels every year has taken several islands under the sea Increased soil erosion loss of soil quality resulting in minimized crop yield have made situations worse Moreover water has already devoured parts of Mousuni and Ghoramara Island If situations continue to be like this a major part of Sundarbans will soon go underwater

SinkingSundarbans_010

May 21 2020 Every electric pole has been damaged due to the super cyclone on Sundarbans Basanti Island The Indo-Bangladesh region popular as the World Heritage site the Sundarbans is known for its exquisite forest resources Thus the locals depend on forest resources for income However over the last few years global warming has become a rising concern Owing to the indiscriminate cutting down of trees for commercial and domestic use has created an imbalance on the deltaic islands The land has become weak and a frequent victim of natural disasters Storms heavy rainfall and flood wrecks havoc here Approximately 3 14 mm rise in sea levels every year has taken several islands under the sea Increased soil erosion loss of soil quality resulting in minimized crop yield have made situations worse Moreover water has already devoured parts of Mousuni and Ghoramara Island If situations continue to be like this a major part of Sundarbans will soon go underwater

SinkingSundarbans_011

May 25 2021 Due to super cyclone Yaas the local villagers of Laxmipur village are leaving the village The Indo-Bangladesh region popular as the World Heritage site the Sundarbans is known for its exquisite forest resources Thus the locals depend on forest resources for income However over the last few years global warming has become a rising concern Owing to the indiscriminate cutting down of trees for commercial and domestic use has created an imbalance on the deltaic islands The land has become weak and a frequent victim of natural disasters Storms heavy rainfall and flood wrecks havoc here Approximately 3 14 mm rise in sea levels every year has taken several islands under the sea Increased soil erosion loss of soil quality resulting in minimized crop yield have made situations worse Moreover water has already devoured parts of Mousuni and Ghoramara Island If situations continue to be like this a major part of Sundarbans will soon go underwater

SinkingSundarbans_012

November 11 2021 Broken embankments on Ghoramara island is letting in salt water in the local villages The Indo-Bangladesh region popular as the World Heritage site the Sundarbans is known for its exquisite forest resources Thus the locals depend on the forest resources for income However over the last few years global warming has become a rising concern Owing to the indiscriminate cutting down of trees for commercial and domestic use has created an imbalance on the deltaic islands The land has become weak and a frequent victim of natural disasters Storms heavy rainfall and flood wrecks havoc here Approximately 3 14 mm rise in sea levels every year has taken several islands under the sea Increased soil erosion loss of soil quality resulting in minimised crop yield have made situations worse Moreover water has already devoured parts of Mousuni and Ghoramara Island If situations continue to be like this a major part of Sundarbans will soon go underwater