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Sunday 6 October 2019

Climate change in Vietnam is changing lives

Waheed Akram. 

The waterways, the highlands and the cities, all areas are feeling the brunt of climate change in Vietnam. As the first world refuses to reduce its carbon emissions, Vietnam along with other developing nations suffer the most without even contributing as much to the emissions.

In the Mekong River delta, water is life. The canals and channels are not only a means of transportation but also a source of irrigation for the crops.

With the rising sea levels, however, the farmers in the Delta are hit the worst. Rice is the main crop. Is the salinity is rising it is getting more and more difficult to plant rice. the sea line is intruding at a place that has reduced three annual rice crops to just one. During the dry season the saltwater goes upstream and contaminates the freshwater resources.

The shortage of freshwater is even affecting the rearing of animals. Farmers find it difficult to fulfill their washing and drinking needs, what to say about fulfilling those of their animals. Malnutrition of livestock will further deteriorate the economic conditions of the farmers. So it is a two pronged threat for them.

Agricultural experts are now recommending farmers to grow modified rice types which can withstand the salt water. Another recommendation has been to shift to economic practices and the types of crops which are more suitable for brackish water.

The rising sea levels are a threat for the cities as well. Urban centres are seeing flooding more than ever. Not even regarded Venice of the East, during the rainy season many city streets start resembling canals. 

Tourism is the main source of capital for many Vietnamese cities. With the increase in flooding, the sector has been adversely affected. As it degrades the transportation network and reduces the revenue of businesses, it ultimately shrinks the tourism sector.

The highlands may be safe from the rising sea levels but climate change is causing spells of drought. summers are getting hotter and water shortages area proving disastrous for domestic use and for crops. 

The unpredictability of weather is forcing farmers to switch there traditionally grown crops. They had been working on the same crops for centuries and had honed their methods to achieve highest yields. Shifting to new types of crops will require accumulating new experience and expertise which will result in loss of valuable profits.

It is high time for the industrially advanced nations to cut their carbon emissions to address the challenges of climate change that entire world is facing. Due regard needs to be paid to the problems of developing world which are not even of their own making.

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