Geography Bangladesh Coursework

To what extent does the Physical Environment of Bangladesh determine its level of development? What efforts could be made to reduce the country’s problems? The aim of this coursework is to investigate how Bangladesh’s Physical environment is affecting the rate of the development of the country. Furthermore, to explore what efforts could be made to reduce the country’s problems. [Section 1] To what extent does the Physical Environment of Bangladesh determine its level of development? Bangladesh is situated in South Asia.
It is surrounded by India, and borders Burma. The population is roughly 150 million people; 45% of it’s population is in poverty. The minority of the population of in Bangladesh are located in Dhaka, the capital city, Chittagong and Khulna; most of the population are located in rural areas. The main river running through Bangladesh is the Ganges-Brahmaputra. This river is the main cause of the issues in Bangladesh. Monsoons occur every year, without fail, causing the country even more problems.
Only 40. % of the adult population are literate, and only 21. 6% of children have secondary education. The government are continually trying to solve the problems, but this is unsuccessful as a result of the country’s poor wealth. Bangladesh is 49. 8% below the poverty line referring to its wealth, and its rapid population growth hinders the development of the country. There are many reasons why Bangladesh is an LEDC. The main reason for this, is the flooding which occurs every year as a harsh result of the monsoons, prohibiting the speed of development.

The river Ganges-Brahmaputra is seen as an ‘untameable’ river, which changes its form very frequently. This causes disaster in itself as it destroys many parts of Bangladesh’s fertile land which is at is best by the river. As a result of this, there are a lot of homes located along the river as it is a main source of water for everyday life, and to provide jobs such as farming and agricultural work. As a result of this, the continuous building and rebuilding of communities uses time and money, consequently slowing down the progression of the country.
Another reason for Bangladesh being an LEDC is a consequence of its highly dense population. This would not be a problem if money was sufficient in Bangladesh, but the country is poor, meaning it cannot provide for its large number of inhabitants. Finally, the aid given to Bangladesh by other countries can be useless, for example, much of the money aid given to the Bangladeshi government, are loans. When the country cannot afford pay back the loans, Bangladesh is in more and more debt, meaning the development of the country is decelerate.
Furthermore, most of the other aid given to the country does not help the poor, continuing poverty; highly-skilled experts can be expensive, again spending the money the government do not have; charities can be influenced by the people who support them, therefore the aid given may to be teach a certain subject, whereas simple life skills may be of more use; and fi- nally, the aid may be given to individuals, rather than communities which would be more useful. Bangladesh is between stages 2 and 3 in development. The country is poorly educated, meaning families are stuck in a poverty circle.
This is when a family are poor, they have many children because the majority of them will die due to disease and malnutrition. The family need the surviving children to work to provide for the family, and to look after the parents when they are old. Then the children have children, who will do the same for their parents. This is a vicious circle which is extremely hard to get out of. Another reason why Bangladesh is in between the stages 2 and 3 is because of the floods, continually destroying parts of the country, and their valuable crops which help to provide many, many families with income.
Furthermore, the money aid given to the country is usually in the form of loans; when the country is unable to repay these loans, they get into serious debt. The reason Bangladesh is in the development stages between 2 and 3 is as a result of a combination of factors. (Data from 1989. ) The employment structure in Bangladesh is very different from here in the UK. In the UK, just 7% of the population are unemployed; whereas in Bangladesh, 25% of the population are unemployed. Of those who are employed, 75% work in agricultural jobs such as, farming the fertile land.
In the UK, only 2% of the population are employed for agricultural positions. % of the Bangladeshi population are working for the industry, and 20% of the UK work for the industry. 78% of the employed population in the UK are working in services, and just 19% in Bangladesh. This data shows that Bangladesh are still very much relying on the old way of life, working on farms for example, while most of the population in the UK are working in jobs such as policemen/women. This also implies that if the land is damaged, or crops do not flourish successfully as a result of the flooding, almost four fifths of the population suffer from an immense fall in their income.
This is a major reason contributing to why Bangladesh’s physical environmental is such an impact on the stage of development. Bangladesh do have another way of making money though. They export some goods, mainly to the US. The main exports are fish products, textiles, clothing and jute (a type of woven material). This brought in $1,305 million to Bangladesh in 1989. Bangladesh is situated in Asia. It borders Burma, and is surrounded by India. The land in Bangladesh is mainly floodplains and delta; suggesting that there would be a high level of flooding in the country, slowing down any development of the area.
As we can see from the map, (below), most of the land is in the colour blue, meaning it is very close to sea level, increasing the chances of flooding. Also, there are many swampy locations liable to flooding. The majority of the country is up to just 10 meters above sea level. The country is flat, also meaning when large amounts of flooding by the large and main rivers occur, the water would spread out quickly, therefore this would affect vast areas of the country, rather than just secluded areas. The main rivers flowing through Bangladesh are the River Brahmaputra, the River Meghna and the River Ganges.
This, therefore, affects a huge number of the people, as when the rivers flood, the rivers are close together, increasing the volume of the flood water, and increasing the impact on the Bangladeshi society. As a result of the country being mainly floodplains and the four main rivers running through, building on the plains would be unconstructive and a waste of valuable money, this meaning the development of the country is very limited, due to the physical features of Bangladesh. The climate in Bangladesh is split into three main phases; the hot season, the cool season and the rainy season.
The hot season is between March and June. The cool season is between November and February, and the rainy season is between June to September. The hot season is known to consist of some heavy showers. Depending on the area, the amount of rainfall throughout Bangladesh in the rainy season, ranges between 200cm and 300cm; the north tends to have the most rain. During this season, tropical rainstorms occur also. These can cause very strong winds and more heavy rain. The wind spreads the flood water out more over many miles, causing excess flooding, prohibiting development of the country further.
The temperatures in Bangladesh are fairly consistent. The temperatures do drop during the winter, but on average, do not fall to below 10 degrees Celsius. In the summer, the temperatures reach their highest during April and May. These temperatures are roughly 34 degrees Celsius. The annual monsoons have devastating effects on the people of Bangladesh. Firstly, the floods have destroyed many of the Bangladeshi people’s homes and many communities, leaving some dead, and some badly injured. Aid has to be called for as the country cannot support itself alone, meaning they have to rely on others.
Another effect is that cattle are stranded and worse, drowned in the floods. This means farmers are losing valuable ‘tools,’ consequently loosing money as a result. Furthermore, the water will become stagnant and cause things to rot, attracting vermin, eventually spreading disease. In addition to this, homes and building vital for development of the country will be destroyed, bringing development back to square one every time there is a major flood. As we can see, there is a huge impact of monsoons on the whole country, keeping it in a state of poverty.
Yes, the weather does effect the development of the country as every time the country is flooded, valuable and limited money is spent on repairs and aid. This can get Bangladesh onto serious debt, meaning money is spent on other things which need to be spent on development, stumping the development of the country on a regular basis. There are three main rivers running through Bangladesh. There is the River Brahmaputra (below left and below right), the River Meghna and the River Ganges. The River Brahmaputra is the largest of the three; it is 2,900km long in total.
The river does not start in Bangladesh, but it splits into two there. The river also flows through Tibet, India and China as well as Bangladesh. The rivers source is high up in the Himalayas in Tibet, and travels at a steep anticlimax until it finally levels out in the plains in India. After 35km of travel, the river joins to two others, and becomes the very wide River Brahmaputra. The river travels into Bangladesh, and is used there for a range of purposes. The main ones being a source of energy, food, clean water, deposition of waste in the deepest parts, defence barriers and transport.
One of the most important uses of the river is for energy. Because there are waves, generators are assembled and when the waves reflect off of them, energy and power is created. Much energy is produced every second because the river is so large. Another main use of the river, is that it is fast moving water, (not as fast as the Ganges), meaning it is fresh, enabling the people to use it as drinking water. People will bottle this water, and sell it. A good way of making money. People are able to use boats and swim in the river as the water is not as rough in the River Brahmaputra than it is in the River Ganges.
The river causes many problems as well as being of use to the people. When it floods, which is every year, it kills crops, people and cattle. It also destroys homes and leaves villages wrecked. The river Ganges is seen as a wild and untameable river. Its source is also in the Himalayas at the confluence of six other rivers. A confluence is the meeting of two or more rivers or water sources. The Ganges then flows through India and into Bangladesh. The river is seen as sacred to the people because when it comes into the city of Kanpur, it is joined by the Yamuna at Allahabad.
This point is recognised as the Sangam at Allahabad. The Sangam is a scared place in Hinduism, therefore the river has some religious meaning to it. The River Ganges has also been used for modern day films, and to test out new submarines. Because of its unique features, some submarines and other vessels have been named after it. The final main river is the River Meghna. This river begins its journey in the hilly regions of India. It is the only one of the three main rivers that actually forms inside of Bangladesh itself. It is a very dangerous river, so the people who live near it, cannot use it as it is so very dangerous.
Its only use to its people is that it deposits a lot of silt, so therefore the local farmers can enjoy successful crops. As we can see, each river has advantages and disadvantages. The River Ganges is viewed as the least constructive of the main rivers as it is prone to flooding, and the deposition of silt is low, meaning it is of little use to farmers. In addition to this, the river is highly polluted. The River Meghna is useful as it deposits a lot of silt, yet is far too dangerous to bath or wash, cook clean etc. in. So, this means that the River Brahmaputra is the most useful to the country.
It allows people drinking water, water to cook, clean and sell. Furthermore, it is a huge supplier of energy to Bangladesh, meaning it is valuable for the development of the country. Deforestation does have a large impact on the rivers in Bangladesh. It increases the amount of surface runoff where the forest has been cleared because there is no interception of the plants and there are no trees to use the extra water in photosynthesis. This means that the surface runoff will flow into the rivers, causing the water levels to rise, and contributing to the flooding.
To conclude, the rivers have uses, but are also prone to at least 3 major floods a year, hindering the development of the country. Deforestation is causing a rise in water levels also. However, the River Brahmaputra is a useful source of energy, helping to contribute to the development of the country. There are many things which are being done to overcome the Bangladesh’s problems. As a result of the country’s poor wealth, it is a great struggle to try to pull the country out of its current state of poverty.
There already have been, and will be many schemes to try to rule out the problems Bangladesh has and is experiencing. For example, the Flood Action Plan was set up, also, the World Bank plan was established, flood guards have been purchased, and the H. E. E. D scheme was set up. The H. E. E. D Scheme The H. E. E. D scheme was developed and designed by the Tear Fund. The Tear Fund is a Christian Charity, working globally to try to eliminate poverty. The H. E. E. D scheme’s aim was to support villages in Bangladesh to push for a better future. H. E. E. D stands for Health, Education, Economic, Development.
The scheme operates by addressing the roles of both women and men in society to allow everybody to play a part in trying to overcome problems, together. Women form in groups of about 20 to discuss problems and show that they have a voice and that they also have rights in society. Only the women are able to do this as they are the only ones who have the time. Their main role is to be a housewife, looking after the family, while the men are out working. The men work as farmers all day, therefore they are unable to support the women as much.

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