Rising sea level is threatening many small islands in Sunderbans, the largest mangrove ecosystem in the world, which is spread across Bangladesh and West Bengal in India, at the mouth of the river Ganges. Two of the 100 small islands in this delta region have already been submerged by the rising sea level, which ecologists believe is a direct effect of global warming. Sunderbans is home to a wide range of animals, which includes the Royal Bengal Tiger, spotted deer, crocodiles, snakes and many species of birds. Many of the islands threatened by the rising sea level are populated, with an estimate suggesting that nearly 10,000 people are living in these islands. All these people could soon become refugees of climate change and might have to relocate farther inland to escape the rising sea.

Satellite data show that two islands in the Sunderbans delta region have already sunk in the sea. One of these islands named ‘Lohacharra’ was inhabited and its residents were moved to neighboring islands in the region only in the recent past. Ecologists feel that global warming and erosion and destruction of mangroves have led to this situation, which is now threatening the entire Sunderbans ecosystem. Sugata Hazra, Director of the School of Oceanographic studies in Jadavpur University, said that the sinking process in this region started way back in 1940’s, but is getting more evident in the recent years.

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