OD Photo Prize 2023 | Runner Up
Mohammad Rakibul Hasan [b. 1977] is a documentary photographer, filmmaker, journalist, visual artist, and art educator based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. His work explores a wide range of human rights, social development, political, environmental, and spiritual themes.
Artist Statement | “Global warming seems to have a disproportionate impact on certain countries compared to others. The immediate aftermath is increased incidents of natural disasters like storm surges and floods, while sea-level rise is slow yet inevitable. Bangladesh, the world’s largest delta, is a direct victim of global warming. Increased natural disasters like cyclones and oceanic tidal waves affect Bangladesh’s coastal area. The coastal lowlands of this country have millions who, ironically, depend on the sea for their livelihood. Thus, Bangladesh is one of the unwitting victims of climate change directly due to global warming. Bangladesh is a developing country that consumes far fewer products than most Western countries. In a study, the Journal of Industrial Ecology showed the stuff we consume — from food to knick-knacks — is responsible for up to 60 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and between 50 and 80 percent of total land, material, and water use. The Sundarbans forest, located in the coastal belt of Bangladesh, is one of the most vulnerable areas in the country to the impacts of climate change. The forest spans over 10,000 square kilometers and is home to various plant and animal species, including the Bengal tiger. However, the forest also faces many threats due to climate change, including rising sea levels and increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events. Sea level rise is one of the most significant threats to the Sundarbans forest. Due to sea level rise, the Sundarbans forest faces other threats due to climate change. Climate change has led to a growing number of people migrating from these areas, searching for better opportunities and escaping the impacts of climate change. Most climate migrants from coastal belt areas of Bangladesh are moving to urban areas, such as the capital city of Dhaka and other major cities. These migrants often seek better job opportunities and access to services and support. However, many migrants face challenges in their new locations, such as a lack of affordable housing, discrimination, and limited access to services and support. The future is uncertain for those still living in coastal areas of Bangladesh and fighting the climate crisis. “ — Mohammad Rakibul Hasan
IMAGE DESCRIPTION | Climate conversations worldwide by world leaders have been occurring yearly, but nothing much is being changed. People around the coastline areas of the Sundarbans forest have been experiencing extreme weather conditions. Along with the flood, the cyclone brought seawater that caused permanent salinity. Regular water sources were damaged, alongside crop fields, creating food insecurity. The land became barren, and trees couldn’t sustain themselves due to soil salinity. Because of its geographical location, Bangladesh has to receive and drain out a massive volume of upstream waters. The flows of significant rivers originate from the Himalayas; due to the temperature rise, melting glaciers cause floods and waterlogging in many places around Bangladesh. Floodwaters seep into supplies used for drinking and washing, and latrines are washed away, allowing raw sewage to increase the threat of diseases such as cholera.
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