Volvo CE – The Megaproject Listing #6 – Saving invaluable land, Sundarbans, India

Volvo CE – The Megaproject Listing #6 – Saving invaluable land, Sundarbans, India


Our fate depends on the use of land. Along the Bay of Bengal, endangered species
and 4.5 million of people are living under the constant threat of rising sea levels
and recurring cyclones. This is the story
of how pioneering construction aims to protect the Sundarbans delta,
a unique world heritage site. The Sundarbans in between India
and Bangladesh is home to the world’s largest
mangrove forest, millions of people
and the endangered Bengali tiger. In 2009, hundreds and thousands
of families lost their homes when a natural disaster cyclone Aila
hit the area. Fertile soil was destroyed
and cattle drowned when the land was flooded with saltwater. The tropical storm also brought down
the mud walls protecting the islands
and its habitants from the elements. When Cyclone Aila hit us, all the grain fields here were destroyed,
the fish in the ponds were killed, most of the cattle drowned and all of the vegetation was destroyed
due to the salty water from the flood. We didn’t have anywhere to live. After the catastrophe the building
of the embankments began. It is near completion. Situated two meters above sea level, Sundarbans is extremely exposed
to flooding. The tides are so dramatic that about a third of the land disappears
and reappears every single day. Without the embankments,
life here would not be possible. After the cyclone in 2009, people tried to rebuild the walls by hand,
an almost impossible task. So if I make humans do the same work
as the machines… If we worked here with the machines
for nearly a year, then it would take five years at least
for humans to do the same work. A minimum of five years.
It might take even longer. Today, new, machine-built embankments
are under construction in a pioneer project designed to save this invaluable land. The new walls are made of concrete blocks and will be 5 meters tall
and up to 40 meters wide at the base. They will also serve as roads,
a welcome addition to this isolated area. 20 Volvo machines are working
on the project and by the end of 2018 5,000 meters of
embankments have already been constructed. I don’t feel like I’m operating a machine
And I like the site where I work. The villagers appreciate us as well, since
we have stopped the river from flooding. With the new embankments there is no way
that it would flood again. So that makes me feel great. With this project, the government
of West Bengal hopes to save this area from rising sea levels
and future cyclones. With better infrastructure, and
embankments protecting the fertile soil, the Sundarbans has potential
to become an important granary in one of the world’s
most populated areas. People here will benefit
in many ways. Cyclone Aila left quite an impact, but once these embankments are built
then people won’t live in fear anymore. They’ll be able to live in a better
and more carefree way. All around the globe, similar construction
measures are being taken to prepare our world
for changing living conditions. The embankments in Sundarbans
are only one example of how engineering and construction
equipment are being used to face future challenges. Our future will be better once
the embankments have been built. Our crops will grow again.

Daniel Ostrander

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1 thought on “Volvo CE – The Megaproject Listing #6 – Saving invaluable land, Sundarbans, India

  1. Anubhav Sen says:

    India's map shown in video is wrong requested to please correct it.

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