Bangladesh, or officially the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, is located in South Asia. It borders India to the west, north, and east, and Burma to the southeast. It also borders the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean to the south. It is a small country, with an area of approximately 147,570 sq. km. (94th compared to all countries). However, it has the 8th greatest population in the world, with over 160 million people. It is among the world's most densely populated countries. The capital of Bangladesh is Dhaka, which has an estimated population of more than 15 million people, making it the largest city in Bangladesh and a primate city. It is also the 8th largest city in the world. The country’s urban population consists of 28.4% of the total population, and the urbanization rate is approximately 3%.
Bangladesh has a low Human Development Index score of 0.515, and is ranked 146th in the world. Its per capita income as of 2013 is equivalent of U.S. $1,044 compared to the world average of $8,985. There are many factors that have affected the country’s development, including environment, health, economy, conflict, and government, among other issues.
The environment of Bangladesh is quite unique. The environment, including the geography, climate, and natural hazards has hampered development in the country. Bangladesh is located in the low-lying Ganges Delta. This delta is formed by the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers and their tributaries, which eventually empty into the Bay of Bengal. The country is situated mostly on flat alluvial plains. The alluvial soil deposited by these rivers has created some of the most fertile plains in the world, and 52.97% of the total land in the country is arable.
Bangladesh has 57 trans-boundary rivers. Most of these rivers are shared with India. Conflicts arise over water resources, especially water use and pollution issues. Also, like other areas in Asia, water in Bangladesh is often contaminated with arsenic. This is a natural occurrence due to high arsenic contents in the soil. Up to 77 million people in Bangladesh are exposed to toxic arsenic in drinking water. Arsenicosis is the effect of arsenic poisoning, usually over a long period from about 5 to 20 years. Arsenic poisoning causes various health effects, including skin problems, such as color changes of the skin and hard patches on the palms and soles of the feet, skin cancer, cancers of the bladder, kidney and lung, and diseases of the blood vessels of the legs and feet. With the high number of people affected, health and life expectancy decline. In consequence, development is negatively impacted.
Another unique aspect of Bangladesh is that a major part of the coastline is marshy jungle. This is called the Sundarbans, and it makes up the largest mangrove forest in the world. This mangrove forest is the most diverse environment in the world, and is home to numerous species of flora and fauna.
The climate in Bangladesh is tropical...