“The river is so hungry,” says Peramin Ishak, as he gestures to a missing arc of land from the muddy embankment. “It just keeps eating the land.” From his village of Datina Khali, which rests on the edge of the Bangladeshi Sundarbans, Ishak has watched the river swallow up a three hectare (seven acre) chunk of land in the past decade. Stretching across south-western Bangladesh and into neighbouring India, the Sundarbans is the largest mangrove forest in the world, a honeycomb of islands and tributaries that eventually fan out into the Bay of Bengal. It may be one of the most beautiful places on earth, but the families eking out a living in its waters are buffeted by one problem after another. Here, on the frontline of the climate crisis, rising sea levels claim more and more land each year. Salt infiltrates the drinking water, and imbues the vegetables with a sharp tang. Increasing salinity almost wiped out the local shrimp industry back in the mid-90s, and these days many local fishermen have switched from collecting shrimp to hunting the more climatically resilient mud crab. But even as they adapt, locals remain extremely vulnerable. Mud crabs are becoming increasingly scarce,… Read full this story
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