Vol. 2, Issue 8 (2015)
Climate Change Awareness and Risk Perception by the Coastal People of Bangladesh
Author(s): Muhammad Ziaul Hoque
Abstract: Bangladesh is the most vulnerable country experiencing bad consequences of climate change. To afford suitable adaptation measures for the resilience to climate change, this study carried out to explores awareness and perceived risk of climate change on selected coastal ecosystems by the involving people. The study was conducted in Potenga thana under Bondar upazila of Chittagong district and Teknaf upazila of Cox’s Bazar district in the south-eastern region of Bangladesh between 2013-2014. Data were collected using pretested interview schedule through face to face interview from 240 sampled respondents following multistage disproportionate random sampling technique. The study recognized that all the respondents irrespective of their geographical locations are aware about climate change and its numerous effects on the coastal ecosystems. People were more aware about the phenomena like increase in temperature, sea level rise and disease outbreak as well as reduction in agricultural and livestock production than the phenomena like frequent cyclone, occurance of cold waves, heavy fog and precipitation. Manmade and natural activities like deforestation, burning of bushes, God’s plan and urbanization were the major determinants of climate change as perceived by majority of the respondents. Rainfall is perceived as key determinants in agricultural production followed by humidity, sunlight, temperature and wind respectively. Migration of people and animal from coastal areas, substandard livelihoods, scarcity of drinking water and inundation to cultivable land are some of the major perceived consequences of climate change. Increased incidences of pests, reduction in acreage and yield but increased cost of cultivation of some crops due to high temperature in winter season are the perceived risks in crop enterprises. Different types of diseases like- white faeces, spot in the body, sterility, rotting, widening of head, narrow tail and decreased growth rate of hen, duck and other animals has increased due to adverse climatic factors. Milk production has decreased due to high temperature and disease outbreak. Rotting, widening of head, narrow tail and decrease in growth rate of fish have been observed to increase in the area. Availability of silver cup, Lebeo rohita, lota fish, sona fish, farsha fish, elish and small shrimp has been decreased to a great extent. Amount of bird species like pigeon, parrot etc. has reduced in a significant number. Increased incidence of fever, stroke, bone pain and pox in human body along with decreased income due to low production and high input cost letting the coastal people to poverty conditions which compelled them to migrate and believe more in the God of nature for safety against evil and bad consequences.