31 C
Dhaka, Bangladesh
8:48 am | July 19, 2024
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sos, navigating dhakas blazing heatwave crisis
Bangladesh Dr. Nusrat Hafiz Dr. Tarnima Warda Andalib Environmental Problems

SOS! Navigating Dhaka’s Blazing Heatwave Crisis

SOS! Navigating Dhaka’s Blazing Heatwave Crisis

Dr. Tarnima Warda Andalib, Assistant Professor, BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Dr. Nusrat Hafiz, Assistant Professor, BRAC University, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Email: tarnima.andalib@bracu.ac.bd; Email: nusrat.hafiz@bracu.ac.bd

As Dhaka swelters under record-breaking temperatures averaging between 40 to 42°C in 2024, the city faces a dire climatic emergency followed by the blazing heatwave that imperils both its residents and biodiversity. Heatwave, defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is a prolonged period of scorching weather far exceeding regional norms, which pose a profound threat to health, infrastructure, agriculture, and the environment.

desertification is occurring in an area of 2 sq. km in the world every year ,on what way in bangladesh,

The root causes are clear: persistent high-pressure systems trap heat, exacerbated by rising greenhouse gas emissions and unchecked urbanization. Dhaka, with its dense population and rapid expansion, epitomizes these challenges. Concrete structures and asphalt amplify the urban heat island effect, intensifying heat retention and creating stifling conditions.

The consequences are alarming. In Dhaka, the impact of heatwaves extends far beyond discomfort—it’s an economic juggernaut, costing the city billions annually. The loss of approximately US$6 billion in labor productivity due to heat stress represents over 8 percent of Dhaka’s output, a figure projected to climb to 10 percent by 2050 if global warming persists unchecked. This staggering toll translates to workers losing around 10 minutes of productivity daily, amounting to a monumental 7 billion working hours lost each year across Bangladesh. Beyond economic woes, the heatwave crisis imperils public health, disrupts agriculture, strains water resources, and diminishes urban livability. High temperatures escalate energy demands for cooling, degrade productivity, and wreak havoc on infrastructure like roads, railways, and power grids, causing widespread service disruptions. Vulnerable populations, including the elderly and those with health conditions, face heightened risks of heat-related illnesses like heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Bangladesh has sounded the alarm on Dhaka’s escalating heatwaves, laying the groundwork for critical climate adaptation and mitigation projects. The World Bank’s Climate Change Knowledge Portal underscores Bangladesh’s rising temperatures and associated risks, while the Asian Development Bank’s Climate Change Profile highlights the compounding threats of heatwaves, erratic rainfall, and rising sea levels. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report and the Global Heat Health Information Network (GHHIN) emphasizes the severe health risks posed by urban heat islands, emphasizing the urgency for robust climate policies. The Climate Action Tracker stresses the necessity for aligned climate strategies that meet global sustainability goals.

sos navigating dhakas blazing heatwave crisis
SOS! Navigating Dhaka’s Blazing Heatwave Crisis

Dhaka stands at a critical juncture, facing an escalating heatwave crisis that demands immediate and concerted efforts. From enhancing urban green spaces to fostering international cooperation on emissions reduction, Dhaka must lead with resilience. Enhancing urban green spaces through parks, gardens, and green roofs is imperative now. Also, implementing heat-resistant building materials and reflective surfaces offers a tangible solution to reduce indoor temperatures by prioritizing climate-smart urban planning, incentivizing green technologies, and safeguarding vulnerable populations, Dhaka can forge a path toward a cooler, more sustainable future.

With these, futuristic governance and policies must spearhead proactive strategies to safeguard our city and its people.

  • First, crafting and executing meticulous climate action plans stands as our first line of defense. These plans, fortified by cutting-edge research and climate forecasts, are essential for preparing Dhaka to confront and mitigate the ravages of heatwaves.
  • Second, embedding resilience into urban planning is a necessity. Our future developments must harmoniously integrate green spaces and resilient infrastructure, shielding us from the mounting threats of extreme heat and climate instability.
  • Third, stimulating green innovation through financial incentives holds the key to Dhaka’s sustainable transformation. By incentivizing businesses and individuals to adopt eco-friendly practices, we can expedite our journey toward a cooler, more sustainable future.
  • Fourth, upholding the welfare of our most vulnerable communities during heatwaves is a moral obligation we cannot ignore. Dhaka must fortify its support systems—from robust healthcare initiatives to enhanced infrastructure—for equitable protection against rising temperatures.
  • Finally, Dhaka’s participation in global climate pacts like the Paris Agreement is a critical timely need. By aligning with international standards and fostering collaboration, Dhaka can amplify its resilience efforts and pave the way for a climate-resilient future on a global scale.

These governance policies are about surviving current heatwaves and securing a sustainable future for Dhaka. The message is clear: unless we act swiftly and collectively, Dhaka’s heatwave crisis may soon become an insurmountable obstacle for future generations. By acting decisively now, Dhaka can lead the way in climate resilience, setting an example for urban centers worldwide facing similar challenges.

As Dhaka confronts unprecedented climate challenges, let us seize this moment to forge a path forward with determination and foresight. The choices we make today will shape the livability and sustainability of our city for generations to come. Together, through bold governance and collective action, we can ensure Dhaka thrives in a climate-changing world.

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