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Natural Resources: Water and Land-use in Bangladesh - Summary of Chapter 3 in THE ENVIRONMENT AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN SOUTH ASIA

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The purpose of this chapter is to point out ways in which economic development programmes and patterns in Bangladesh have failed to take account of important environmental spillovers. These spillovers are adversely affecting water quality and its
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  1 Natural Resources: Water and Land-use in Bangladesh Chapter 3 in Mohammad Alauddin and Clement A Tisdell (1998) THE ENVIRONMENT AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN SOUTH ASIA –  An Overview Concentrating on Bangladesh Macmillan Press Ltd., London, UK and St Martin’s Press Inc. New York, USA (available as an E-book from Palgrave Macmillan DOI:10.1007/978-1-349-26392-9) Introduction to Chapter 3 The water resources of Bangladesh are under considerable environmental strain from intensification and extension of agriculture facilitated by the 'Green Revolution' technologies, and deforestation and loss of natural vegetation cover. Population increase (combined with attempts to at least maintain the already low per capita income) is the main underlying cause of such pressure. Industry and urbanisation put added environmental pressures on water resources. There are adverse spillovers not only for agriculture itself but also for fisheries and navigation. Fish is an important part of the Bangladeshi diet and is the main source of animal protein. Fish supplies have been substantially reduced by changes in the quality and quantity of water resources. Water transport in Bangladesh is important particularly in rural areas –  up to one third of all goods transported in Bangladesh are transported by water. Again environmental change is adversely affecting this mode of transport. A guiding principle of Bangladesh in pursuing economic development has been to attain self-sufficiency in grain supplies. But the 'one-eyed' pursuit of this policy has been economically detrimental to Bangladesh because adequate account had not been taken of spillovers or opportunity costs from water management/development projects and from other methods to increase grain production. Furthermore, while some of the poor benefited from increased exploitation of natural resources and the environment in Bangladesh, it is hard to escape the conclusion that on the whole the poor (mostly the landless and the near landless) have been the main losers from such 'developments' (see Chapter 7). The close relationship among  2 environmental, economic and other crises in Bangladesh is illustrated by this research and the findings have parallels in other Asian developing countries. The purpose of this chapter is to point out ways in which economic development programmes and patterns in Bangladesh have failed to take account of important environmental spillovers. These spillovers are adversely affecting water quality and its availability, contributing to poverty and economic deprivation and are impediments to sustainable aggregate production. The water problems occurring in Bangladesh are not unique: they also occur in other less developed countries as, for example, is emphasised in Caring for the Earth: A Strategy for Sustainable Living (IUCN - UNEP- WWF 1991). Chapter 3 Contents 3.1 Introduction 3.2 An Overview of Water Resource Problems in Bangladesh 3.3 Agricultural Water Use 3.4 Navigation 3.5 Fisheries Including Aquaculture 3.6 Some other Considerations, Especially Income Distribution and Poverty 3.6.1 Health and other household problems related to water 3.6.2 Income distribution and poverty aspects 3.7 Forests and Natural Vegetation Loss 3.8 Concluding Comments List of Figures Fig. 3.1 Schematic representation of important environmental interdependencies in Bangladesh linked to water bodies and effected by economic change List of Tables   Table 3.1 Agricultural water use in Bangladesh, 1969-70 to 1992-93 Table 3.2 Waterways by season and type of navigability in Bangladesh Table 3.3 Movement of goods by means of transportation: Bangladesh 1980-81 to 1991-92 Table 3.4 Sources of fish supply in Bangladesh: Percentage contribution in terms of weight, 1983-84 and 1990-91 Other Chapters of this Book 1. Changing Views and Perspectives on the Environment-Development Nexus 2. The Environment, Biodiversity and Development in South Asia 3. Natural Resources: Water and Land-use in Bangladesh 4. Rural Employment, Technological Change and the Environment 5. Village Perspectives on Technology, Employment and the Environment 6. Property Rights, Governance and the Environment  3 7. Impact on the Rural Poor of Changing Rural Environments and Technologies: Evidence from India and Bangladesh 8. Agricultural Sustainability in Marginal Areas: Principles, Policies and Examples 9. Sustainability of Rice-shrimp Farming Systems: Environmental and Distributional Conflicts 10. Energy Resources in Bangladesh: Issues and Options 11. Sectoral Change, Urbanisation and South Asia’s Environment in a Global Context
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