Of the two largest Southasian deltas, one flourishes as the other faces the threat of being overrun by the sea.
by Amar Guriro
At a time when melting glaciers, shrinking coastal lands, depleting freshwater sources and vanishing forests are hot issues across the world, the tidal mangrove forests of the Sundarban constitute an encouraging example of effective conservation. Spread over 10,000 sq km in India and Bangladesh, with some 60 percent falling in the latter, the Sundarban, part of the Ganges delta, the world’s largest, takes in the endpoints of the mighty Ganga, Meghna and Brahmaputra rivers. A fusion zone of fresh- and saltwater, constituting a complex network of tidal waterways, vast scattered mudflats and hundreds of small islands filled with salt-tolerant mangroves, and home to a dizzying array of plants and animals, the Sundarban was recognised as a World Heritage Site in 1987.