[Photo Essay] Living on the Edge: Community in Bengal’s Ghoramara Island Threatened By Climate Change

Tanmoy Bhaduri

Ghoramara Island which has lost 50 percent of its terrain to the rising seas as a result of climate change, causing two thirds of its population to move elsewhere. It is located 150 km south of Kolkata, India in the Sundarban Delta complex of the Bay of Bengal. Since 1969, at least half of its landmass has disappeared under water, leaving only five square kilometers. I want to document how climate change is affecting human beings, particularly in this island. Global warming has caused the river to swell, as snow melts off the mighty Himalayas and pours into the Bay of Bengal. Lohachara, a former island near Ghoramara, now lies deep under the water. Climate refugees from both Lohachara and Ghoramara villages have fled to nearby Sagar Island, where they live in camps built by the government of West Bengal. According to the last election data, 3000 people officially reside on Ghoramara, but many men migrate to the southern part of India to work in construction sites in Kerala. In 2010, researchers at Jadavpur University concluded that 15% of the Sunderban islands will sink by 2020. Tiny Ghoramara, as well as bigger, neighboring islands, are likely to disappear completely.

The attached photos are taken on 27th and 28th February, 2016 during my visit to the Island.

Tanmoy Bhaduri (born 1992) is a freelance news and documentary photographer based in Kolkata, completed Post Graduate Diploma in Mass Communication from University of Calcutta. He works with national and international publications such as The Times of India, Getty Images, Corbis Images, Associated Press, Zuma Press. His first documentary ‘Woven Dreams’ based on Bengal’s Heritage Handloom Workers published in 2015.