India

dangers of barren land

Kundan Kumar

Land degradation and desertification have emerged as major environmental challenges around the world. Generally desertification is a process in which dry land loses its productivity and soil becomes barren. In the process of desertification, the power of the soil to support the plants is reduced and this directly affects the ability of the soil to produce food.

Due to this, the livelihood of the people is affected, as well as the deepening food crisis brings people to the brink of starvation. It is also worrying because desertification adversely affects water management systems and carbon storage. Although it is a matter of fact that the process of desertification occurs over a long period of time, but the worrying thing is that its speed is increasing continuously, which is troubling the environmentalists.

According to the recently published report by ISRO, water erosion is the most responsible for desertification. In about 10.98 percent of the area, desertification occurs due to water erosion. Next comes the number of vegetation degradation. Due to vegetation degradation, 9.91 percent of the area has turned into desert. Apart from this, factors such as wind erosion, reduction in salinity, man-made settlements in the area and other factors such as water logging, excessive frost, barren and rocky land etc. are also responsible for the increasing desert.

Human factors were also no less in making the cultivable land a barren land. Thousands of hectares of land are becoming barren every year due to illegal mining and providing housing for the growing population. According to an estimate of the United Nations, every year about 12 million hectares of land is turning into desert due to man-made reasons. About a quarter of the world’s total arable land has become highly barren. Rainfall in dry land is scanty and erratic.

Especially in developing countries such places are extremely vulnerable to desertification. About forty percent of the population of Asia and Africa is living in areas where the land is turning into desert. About 60 percent of the world’s population is in Asia. Seventy percent of these people live in rural areas, which are directly or indirectly dependent on the land and its associated ecosystem systems. Therefore, in terms of the affected people, the continent of Asia is most affected by soil erosion, desertification and drought.

India is the seventh largest country in the world by area, located in the North-Eastern Hemisphere in the continent of Asia. India is the second largest country in the world after China in terms of population. Therefore, the situation is particularly more worrying for India as it is home to 17.6 per cent of the world’s population. With only 2.4 percent of the world’s total land area, this country is burdened with crores of malnourished people as well as a quarter of global hunger.

ISRO’s soil erosion report states that about thirty percent of the total geographical area of ​​the country is in the grip of soil erosion. Land erosion has spread its net on about nine crore hectares of dry land area spread over seventy percent of the total land of the country. It is about a quarter of the total land area of ​​India.

According to the survey by the Space Applications Center at Ahmedabad, an increase of 1.5 million hectares was registered in the process of soil erosion in just eight years between the years 2003-2005 and 2011-2013. In comparison, data from the World Desert Map prepared by the European Union shows that worldwide drylands have increased by about 0.35 percent since the 1950s in the last century.
Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, in collaboration with the Institute of Energy and Resources, conducted an assessment of the damage caused by soil erosion in India.

After this study it came out that due to soil erosion, the country is losing $ 48.8 billion annually. This was equivalent to about 2.08 percent of India’s GDP in 2014-2015, while it is more than 13 percent of the GDP of the agriculture and forestry sectors in the same year.

In fact, the problem of accelerating desertification has become a formidable problem for the whole world. Drought and desertification are also believed to be the reason for the destruction of developed civilization like Indus Valley in ancient times. Desertification has an impact on all living beings, environment, climate and soil. It is a multidimensional problem which has biological, geographical, social and economic aspects. Therefore, to deal with it, the central and state governments seem to claim some efforts at their level.

In 1985, the National Land Use and Fallow Development Council was constituted as the highest policy making and adjustment agency. This council considers the management of lands across the country. For the past several years, research institutions and agricultural universities have been engaged in in-depth study of the effects of desertification and drought. The priority of these research is to develop mechanisms to prevent desertification and increase productivity of drought-prone areas.

To deal with the problem of desertification on a global scale, some goals were also set in the Rio Convention in 1992, which were adopted in 1994 and brought into reality in December 1996. One hundred and ninety four countries including India and the European Union are among its signatory countries. It is a legally binding international agreement working towards tackling the problem of desertification and drought.

India had prepared a National Action Plan to tackle the problem of desertification, in which drought management preparedness, public awareness, improvement in the standard of living of the local community, community-based strategies for development were prominently marked.

Keeping in mind the ten-year program prepared by the United Nations to combat desertification, India has also intensified work in this direction.
Significantly, in the Eleventh Five Year Plan, the government had set a target to increase agricultural production. But the government has accepted the fact that this goal cannot be achieved unless the degradation of land resources is stopped. Hence the Sustainable Land Management Program (SLAM) was launched.

The program aims to promote sustainable land management, conserve biodiversity and maintain ecosystems. In order to address the problems of desertification and degradation of land resources, at the 2007 climate conference in Madrid, all the States Parties together approved a ten-year strategy to deal with the problem of desertification.

However, the role of common citizens in controlling desertification is no less. We can control the expanding desert by adopting measures like better land use planning and management, population control and illegal mining and plantation.

The post The danger of barren hot land appeared first on Jansatta.

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Shivam Bangwal

Shivam Bangwal is an Indian based entrepreneur who is a tech, travel and coding enthusiast with a post graduation degree on Master's of Computer Applications. He is a founder of Youthistaan, People News Chronicle, Hitchhike TV, Branding Panther and many more.

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