Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sand from Bangladesh may boost Maldives

UPI: Sand from Bangladesh may help to keep the Maldives above water under a proposed agreement between the two countries, an official said. "We have received a proposal from the Maldives government regarding this. They want to import soil from our country in defense against rising sea levels," said Bangladesh Commerce Minister Muhammad Faruk Khan, the Business Standard newspaper of India reports.

The two countries are investigating the possibility and may sign an agreement within three or four months, Khan said. Dredging Bangladesh's rivers has become necessary because of huge amounts of sediment -- totaling around 264 billion gallons -- that is naturally deposited from the Himalayas. As a result, the country's rivers are becoming increasingly difficult for vessels to navigate, Khan said.

Dredging would start with Mongla Port on the Posur River and isn't likely to have an impact on Bangladesh's environment, Khan said. "We are more than happy if the deal works out because it will be beneficial for a brotherly nation," Khan said.

The Maldives' 1,200 low-lying islands and coral atolls, about 500 miles from the tip of India, are in danger of disappearing if the current pace of global climate change continues. In 2007, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted that rising sea levels of up to nearly 2 feet would swamp many of the country's islands, which average 4.9 feet above sea level…

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