Bangladesh growing, study finds

The landmass of Bangladesh is expanding, says a new study, despite predictions the country would sink due to rising sea levels.

According to the Dhaka-based Centre for Environmental and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS), more than 1 billion tonnes of sediment travels down the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers to the Bay of Bengal. Here it is deposited at the southern coast, creating about 20 square kilometres of land annually. Specialists predict that if current trends persist there may be as many as 1,000 square kilometres of land created over the next 50 years.

However, doubts remain among some environmental experts who question if increases in land mass from river deposits will be able to offset the larger loss of land due to climate change and rising water levels.

"Bangladesh will suffer the consequences of the greenhouse effect and climate change even if the emergence of new lands off its coast continues," Reazuddin Ahmed, director of the country’s department of environment, told IRIN.

"If global warming causes the predicted sea rise to happen, it will far exceed the rate of sedimentation in the Bay of Bengal, and the inundation will occur," he said.

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