Bangladeshi young people adapting climate crisis by Aquaponics initiative which boosting agriculture in the urban context. It is an indigenous technique to introduce environment-friendly technology where crops and fish production are possible at the same time in one place. Red Alert climate Spokesperson Sohanur Rahman writes on the Aquaponics initiative led by a young activist at Dhaka city.
Riazul Islam (17) , is a member of Sabuj Chaya Child & Youth Climate Centre at Dhaka city. He joined the centre as a child member under the Child-Centred Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) Project in 2017. Since then, he has been actively involved in various activities of the project. He learned about the different types of climate change adaptation by participating in various sessions and meetings. Adapting to the climate crisis, He has just started the “Aquaponics” on the rooftop of his family house on one side. On the other side, he is practicing rooftop gardening. His interest, and with the support of the CCA project of Save the Children in Bangladesh, has encouraged him to start aquaponics and fruit tree gardening on the rooftop of their rented house. Riaz said “I have learned about the benefits of aquaponics and hydroponics methods through attending various sessions & meetings of the CCA project of Save the Children. Specially, the cultivation of fish and vegetables on the rooftop of the house in less space, with less labour, less time spent for getting fresh fruits and vegetables. So, I made the decision to cultivate fishes with vegetables (Aquaponics) in July 2019 on the rooftop of our house.”
Riaz also said that “with the financial assistance of my family, I have spent around fifteen thousand Taka (146 Euros) for styrofoam sheets, plastic trays, self, plastic jars, boxes and minnow. So far we ate some fish, the equivalent of seven hundred Taka. However, on October 28, around 35 fish (about 2.5 kg) died from sudden rain, which had a market value of around three hundred Taka. My family collected around five hundred Taka worth of vegetables and fruits. Currently, there are 22 types of herbs, fruits and vegetables in my rooftop garden.”
Riaz is the eldest of his siblings. He has one sister and one brother who go to the same school. All three of them live with their parents in the city of Dhaka. His father, Abdul Latif, has a grocery store that brings in an average monthly income of ten to thirteen thousand Taka. With this income, they rented a small concrete room on the ground floor where their entire family of five lives.
Rapid urbanization of Dhaka City without considering the geological aspects has brought the city significant changes in the geo-environment. Dhaka city alone accounts for more than 36% of the total urban population in the country and is still growing rapidly with a big number of climate migrants. The City has already lost both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems because of urbanization. The microclimatic factors are changing unevenly, which brings to the urban people different challenges. Building urban resilience, Young people have taken Aquaponics as an urban adaptation option to reduce the vulnerabilities of climate change.
Local Children and young people are visiting Riaz’s rooftop Aquaponics system regularly. Community people are also learning from the aquaponics technology. Many of the plants that thrive in Aquaponics growing are very easy to grow. Many of the students said they are learning the practicalities of the aquaponics system, which should be incorporated in high school and college curriculums.
“Climate change and environmental degradation undermine children’s’ rights in the city as well as the country. The impacts of climate change pose risks to children’s health, safety and survival; education; and family and individual security. Moreover, Bangladesh is extremely vulnerable to climate change impacts. Therefore, we need to try new and indigenous technology to ensure food security and create alternative livelihoods,’’ Riaz concluded.