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Climate Change, Salinity & Public Health in Bangladesh

Climate Change, Salinity & Public Health in Bangladesh


Last Updated on September 28, 2023

Bangladesh is considered as one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change due to its unique geographical location, population density, low flood plain, and dependency of majority of population on nature for livelihoods. In recent years Bangladesh has made some tremendous progress to fulfill a few indicators of SDGs but there is a chance that impacts of climate change will jeopardize its progress.

Scientific reports are indicating that 15% the floodplains of Bangladesh could go under sea water due to 1m sea level rise and 30 million coastal people could become climate migrants. Due to sea level rise, coastal Bangladesh is experiencing substantial levels of saltwater intrusion. Salinity is normally high along Bangladesh’s long coast, but it is now extending further inland due to climate change-induced sea level rise, obstructions in the water cycle, land use and land cover change, coastal embankment, water logging, storm surge and shrimp cultivation. Salinity causing various health impacts in coastal Bangladesh. In fat, while people of Bangladesh are facing various health impacts related to climate change it will also hamper Bangladesh’s interconnected socio-ecological balance.

Hence Bangladesh requires systems thinking based approach which can help Bangladesh to address interconnected ecological, social, economic,  and human health issues in a holistic manner for ensuing inter-and intra-generational equity. In this regard systems thinking based Planetary Health framework can a suitable approach for Bangladesh as it characterizes the linkages between natural systems and health as well as emphasis to attain “highest attainable standard of health, wellbeing, equity and sustainability through judicious attention to the natural and human systems”.

Bangladesh is experiencing substantial levels of saltwater intrusion. While salinity is normally high along its long coast, it is now extending further inland due to climate change. This project investigates the concentration of salt in Bangladesh’s coastal food systems & its associated health impacts.


Byomkesh Talukder, Reza Salim, Sheikh Tawhidul Islam, Krishna Prosad Mondal, Keith W. Hipel, Gary W. vanLoon, James Orbinski (2023). Collective intelligence for addressing community planetary health resulting from salinity prompted by sea level rise. The Journal of Climate Change and Health, 10,

Abstract: Sea level rise-induced salinity encroachment is causing various community-level planetary health impacts in coastal areas worldwide. The coastal area of Bangladesh is no exception. Driven by sea level rise, coastal Bangladesh's salinity is amplified by other factors such as shrimp cultivation, reduction of transboundary river flow in the dry season, mismanagement of the embankment, and frequent cyclone-related storm surges. Due to the salinity encroachment in this region, water and soil salinity is increasing, resulting in multiple planetary health impacts. Based on twenty years of field observation and an extensive literature review, these health impacts can be categorized as (i) primary health consequences (communicable and non-communicable diseases; scarcity of potable water), (ii) secondary health consequences (food and nutrition security; migration and related health impacts) and (iii) tertiary health consequences (adaptation-related emerging diseases; disaster-related health vulnerability). By exploring these multidimensional health impacts and associated factors of salinity, a collective intelligence-based framework to address the health impacts is described in this paper. Collective intelligence can be a valuable technique to engage multiple stakeholders in sharing and gathering data, and to facilitate the modeling of the health impacts of salinity. Collective intelligence can also help indicate appropriate interventions to address the planetary health impacts of increasing salinity.
Keywords: Climate change; Sea level rise; Salinity; Community planetary health; Collective intelligence; Modeling; Adaptation


Planetary Health



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Byomkesh Talukder, Research Fellow, Planetary Health Alum
Eunice Choi, Graduate Research Assistant, Planetary Health Alum

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