Huge plumes of methane spotted over Bangladesh | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 10, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:37 AM, April 10, 2021

Huge plumes of methane spotted over Bangladesh

Says Paris-based firm

Analysing satellite images, Paris-based company Kayrros SAS has detected huge plumes of methane gas over Bangladesh, reports the Bloomberg.

Citing 12 highest rates of methane emission over Bangladesh this year, the report published on Thursday said, "One of the countries vulnerable to climate change has also been revealed as a major contributor of methane."

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The report titled "Mysterious Plumes of Methane Gas Appear Over Bangladesh" came to this conclusion observing satellites images that show large, frequent emissions over Dhaka.

It quoted Yotam Ariel, founder of Bluefield Technologies Inc, saying: "Our analysis shows that Bangladesh has some of the highest methane emissions in the world that can be detected by satellites."

Stephane Germain, president of GHGSat Inc, which also picked up the plumes, said: "It has the strongest sustained emissions we have seen to date where we can't clearly identify the source."

The report, however, hinted at a combination of sources, including paddy fields, landfills, leaky natural gas pipelines and coal stockpiles.

Bangladeshi scientists said there is no scientific proof that plume of methane originated from Bangladesh as methane is lighter than carbon dioxide and it may go up to 30km up in the atmosphere.

So, the plumes could have come from anywhere, the said.

"Carbon isotope analysis of the methane is necessary to know its origin," said Dr Ahsan Uddin, a Bangladeshi climate scientist.

He said detection of plumes of methane in Bangladesh sky does not necessarily mean that it is emitted from Bangladesh.

More or less, all the countries in this region are conducting similar activities like growing rice, filling wetland, and they might have leaky natural gas pipelines and stockpiles of coals which release methane gas, Ahsan added.

"Regional countries, including China and India, are growing much more rice than us. We have only one coal mine in Barapukuria, but India has more than 1,000 such stockpiles while China has more than 2,500."

The scientist said Bangladesh's only big city is Dhaka and the per capita waste generation here is lower than its neighbours.

"Being the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, developed countries always try to blame developing nations for climate change," he said.

Among the four factors mentioned in the Bloomberg report, leaky gas pipelines could be a major source of methane emissions which is completely a management issue, Ahsan said.

"If it happens, the authorities need to increase the efficiency of gas pipe management and it can be resolved," he observed.

A researcher on effects of water management on greenhouse gas, Dr SM Mofizul Islam of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI) said rice cultivation is not a big source of methane or greenhouse gas emission.

Globally, rice cultivation contributes 1.5 percent of total anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission, according to worlddata.info.

Mofizul said rice cultivation produces a small volume of methane which automatically turns into carbon dioxide and rice plants also reduce carbon dioxide through photosynthesis.

Dr Syed Hafizur Rahman of Jahangirnagar University also said the Bloomberg report was prepared based on an assumption and it was not based on any scientific research findings.

Bangladesh does not produce that much methane which could be detected by a satellite. Also, the overall greenhouse gas emission from Bangladesh is very negligible, he said.

As per the latest Ranking of Countries by Greenhouse Gas Emissions prepared by World Data Atlas, Bangladesh's position is 95th among 111 countries.

The country emits 105,14 tonnes of methane and 84.25 tonnes of carbon dioxide, making its per capita annual greenhouse gas emission only 1.16 tonnes, says World Data Atlas.

Asked about methane gas, Mirza Shaokat, director (planning) at the Department of Environment, said though Bangladesh does not produce much greenhouse gas, the country has taken initiatives to reduce it further.

"We have taken up some projects approved by the clean development mechanism [executive board]. Once implemented, the projects would help reduce emission of methane gas," he added.

 

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