Bangladesh is at risk of becoming submerged under the sea, but the government has plans for three natural cross dams that will save 500 kilometers of land. With over 2 billion tons of sediment passing through Bangladesh’s vast network of rivers, the country is claiming the opportunity to compact the sediments into livable land masses.
The cross dams will stretch between two islands, helping the mud to become packed onto each shore. The first dam will be constructed this year at an estimated cost of $5.34 million.
“Effective measures to hold the 2.4 billion tons of sediment passing through the Ganges–Brahmaputra–Meghna rivers system would have given rise to about 200 sq. km of land each year in the Meghna Estuary,” said a report issued by Bangladesh’s Estuary Development Programme under the Ministry of Water Resources at the Bangladesh Water Development Board.
This is not a scheme dreamed up by a greedy developer. Bangladesh needs the space. Its population–150 million people–is the 7th highest in the world and is extremely high for a country that is ranked 94th in country size, one of the smaller countries in the world. 100 square kilometers of land are eroded each year by rivers and with the burdens of an ever-increasing population at the rate of 2.1% each year, the country cannot afford to lose more land.
But 180,000 people are expected to benefit from the cross dams, ensuring there is more land for Bangladeshis to make their home.
[Image from the Sandwip–Urir Char–Noakhali Cross Dam Report]