Deltas at risk

Multimedia |

Around 500 million people worldwide live on deltas, but many of the world's deltas are sinking due to mining, damming and other causes. IGBP has produced an infographic highlighting the challenges to the world's deltas.

Deltas have long shaped humans’ lives: our ancestors thrived in river
valleys like the Nile, Indus and Yellow. Their rich topsoil, refreshed
every year by floods, fed and sustained our early societies. Today, the story is reversed: humans are shaping deltas. And some deltas are no longer thriving. Modern humans extract oil and water from delta sediments and the rocks below; they build dams upstream that trap sediments that would have replenished the deltas. These and other human activities have led to compacted soils – and slowly sinking deltas.