Sunderbans women turn crusaders to save mangrove

Sunderbans: Battling climate change, hundreds of women from all over the fragile islands of Sunderbans have now turned into crusaders by guarding their hamlets with mangrove forests.

Their husbands had once cleared these mangroves for firewood but now they realise that only the mangroves can act as sentinels against floods and cyclonic storms, the intensity and frequency of which has increased due to climate change.

 Sunderbans women turn crusaders to save mangrove

Fishermen at the Sunderbans. Reuters.

In Patharpratima block's West Surendranagar village 30-year-old Anindita Das, who leads a women self-help group, finishes her household chores quickly in the morning and starts planting mangrove saplings bordering the banks of the river which had played havoc during the 2009 cyclonic storm Aila.

Along with eight such self-help groups and funding from international NGO Save the Children, around 90 women in this village began by growing mangrove saplings in small nurseries close to their huts.

"In a span of three-four months we prepared around 170,000 saplings which are being planted along the banks over 14 hectare land," Das told PTI in an interview.

She is one of the hundreds of women who are now working in groups as climate change warriors in various areas of the Unesco World Heritage site, famed for its Royal Bengal Tigers and biodiversity.

The unique ecosystem of mangroves, characterised by roots that grow upward from the mud, acts as a natural protection against cyclones and tsunamis besides fighting strong tidal waves which eat islands by eroding soil.



Updated Date: Nov 07, 2012 16:18:17 IST