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  • Ishita Pathak

Climate Change not a Figment of Imagination but a Serious Threat - Abhishek Singh

India may suffer devastating climate change effects in 80 years, said in a study, and has called for an urgent step to reduce carbon emission which is a probable cause of climate change. In past years due to climate change, we have faced many natural disasters and millions of people have lost their lives. As a result of climate change, the cyclones are speeding up in the Bay of Bengal, and 8 out of 10 deadliest cyclones have originated from the Bay of Bengal. Last year Orissa witnessed Cyclone Fani and this year on 20 May 2020 West Bengal and Orissa witnessed another super cyclonic storm “Amphan”. According to the experts, it was the strongest tropical cyclone to hit Ganges delta after 2007. The cyclone has caused heavy destruction in the coastal areas, millions are homeless and around 80-85 people are dead. A Week later another cyclone called ‘Nisarga’ knocked the doors off Maharashtra, but fortunately, it didn’t cause heavy damages. India has been hit by many cyclones over the decades, however, 9 cyclones have been proved to be the strongest which caused heavy devastation to the areas. Every year on an average 4-6 cyclones occur in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian sea.

According to the environment ministry in 2018-19 around 2,400 Indians lost their lives due to floods and cyclones. We all are aware of the destruction caused by the floods in Uttarakhand and Chennai in 2013 and 2015 respectively. India has witnessed around 15 floods over the last decade. Millions lost their lives and became homeless. Uttarakhand is a perfect example of rapid and bad urbanization. If you put bad urbanization and climate change together then what do you expect? The Comptroller and Auditor General of India after the investigation of the Chennai flood held the state government liable and called it a man-made disaster. The Chennai flood was caused due to blockage of the drainage system by the factories. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) in its report stated that these extreme events are an immediate impact of climate change, but the long-term effect is rising temperature.

Recently, 10 Indian cities were among the hottest places in the world. 50-degree Celsius temperature was recorded in the district of Churu, Rajasthan. According to IMD data, the average temperature has increased by 0.6o C between 1901-10 and 2009-18. The rising temperature is disrupting the rainfalls and due to which farmers can’t yield their crops, consequently, their incomes. All this is leading them to take the extreme step of committing suicide. The Ministry of home affairs confirmed 11,379 farmers committed suicide in 2016. It means 948 suicides per month and 31 every day. According to NCRB, 2,96,438 farmers committed suicide since 1995. The monsoon is a life-giver, nearly 60% of agriculture depends upon the rain. But climate change has disrupted the monsoon; due to which many states every year suffer from the drought. According to the report of Drought Early Warning System (DEWS), 42% area and around 500 million people of India are facing drought. A study conducted by a professor of IIT Bombay, 80% of rainfall comes from the monsoon spanning from June to September, but in recent years there has been a shortage of rainfall in some parts of the country, the reason behind the shortage is deforestation. 600 million people are employed in agriculture and it shares 20% of the national GDP. Less rainfall means fewer crops and fewer crops means an economic loss to the country. According to the World Bank, data GDP per capita could shrink by nearly 10% by 2050 due to climate change.

India is a country of 1.3 billion people but it only has 4% freshwater and the largest user of groundwater in the world. NITI Aayog in its report released that 21 major cities will run out of groundwater by 2020 and 40% of the population will have no access to fresh water by 2030. Every year, approximately 2,00,000 people die in India due to a lack of access to drinking water. The groundwater is depleting at a very high rate. The rivers are dying due to pollutants disposed of by the factories. Today, we have rivers even though they are polluted but if the carbon emission is not controlled the rivers will cease to exist. Due to the rise in temperature, the Himalayan glaciers are melting, these glaciers feed the major rivers of India and billions of people rely on these rivers.

As many cities in India are struggling to cope with the lack of fresh water. The coastal lands are shrinking as the sea is pushing in. The Bay of Bengal is advancing at the rate of 15ft a year. Climate change has affected the glaciers and they are rapidly melting down, due to which sea level is increasing. Ganges Delta has lost around 260 square km area as big as the city of Kolkata. The size of islands is shrinking and in a few years many of these islands will be submerged in the sea and there will be a huge migration. Suppose, if in a town of capacity of 5 million people tomorrow 10 million people come it is not migration but invasion. It will cause a lot of trouble on streets and there will be a major civil strike. Due to carbon emission cities are already choked with pollution and if such migration happens cities will not be able to cope up.

The climate change is real, it is not a figment of someone’s imagination. If it is not happening to you, it doesn’t mean climate change is not happening and people are not dying. This is a real and serious threat to the human race. We have to get serious about climate change, otherwise in future we may no longer recognize the India in which we are living. If today we don’t take steps in direction to ameliorate our mother nature, then we will be leaving the netherworld for our future generations.

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