People on the Indian islands of Sunderbans can really feel the sea levels rising. While many of the locals have not heard of global warming, they do know about loosing their homes and their farm land to encroaching water.
On the East Indian Archipelago bordering Bangladesh, the Sunderbans delta is famous for its mangrove forests and its wildlife with hundreds of species of birds, the Bengal tiger and the Indian python. Sunderans islander Sheikh Aftauddin said: “Everything got submerged in water. We lost our house, we lost our land, I even lost my livelihood. It was very painful to leave everything – but we had no choice.” The cluster of 100 islands has already been reduced by two. Shibani Seth has not only lost her home but her entire island to the water: “Life was much better. I don’t like it here. I keep remembering my life in my old house, old neighbours, our land, our fields. Old memories won’t leave me.” Oceanographers say the sea is rising at 3.14 millimetres a year against the global average of 2 millimetres. It has turned at least 10,000 people here into environmental refugees with a further 70,000 at risk over the next 30 years.