Future trends in urbanization and coastal water pollution in the Bay of Bengal: the lived experience

N.J. Zinia, C. Kroeze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The Bay of Bengal includes coastal seas of several countries, including Bangladesh, India, and Myanmar. We present scenarios for future river export of eutrophying nutrients into the Bay of Bengal, and the role of urbanization therein. We used NEWS (Nutrient Export from WaterSheds) model to analyze trends over the period 1970–2050. The scenarios are based on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and indicate the number of people living in urban areas may increase from 22 % in 1970 to about 50 % in 2050. We show that this may considerably increase nutrient levels in rivers from sewage and other sources. For 2050, we calculate that harmful algal blooms may be a potential problem in coastal waters of about 95 % of the total drainage basin of the Bay of Bengal. In addition, we analyze Bangladeshi citizens’ expectations of future trends and how citizens with different worldviews would experience environmental changes (i.e., their lived experience). The citizens indicate that trends as envisaged in our scenarios may be a negative experience. However, some people may experience the trends as positive, because they expected worse.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-546
JournalEnvironment, Development and Sustainability
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • nutrient export
  • rivers
  • perspectives
  • management
  • phosphorus
  • nitrogen

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