Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Depleting green cover

The most extensively used words these days are climate change. The weather in most parts of the world, including our part of the world, has been behaving in a strange way. Some places are getting extremely hot while some are getting colder. In some of the Arab countries the temperatures have crossed 50 degree Celsius while in some parts of Europe it is getting cooler than usual. In our sub-continent in many places the temperature has crossed 45 degrees Celsius. There are many factors for this drastic climate change but the most talked about is emission of harmful gases from automobiles, power plants and other similar industries. Apart from the fact of an astronomical increase in the emissions, the other major contributing factor has been the fast vanishing green cover all over the world due to development. The green cover had been absorbing these emissions especially carbon dioxide and purifying the air. The absorption of carbon dioxide enriches the oxygen content in the air. It has been estimated that the conversion of a part of the Sahara desert in Africa can absorb millions of tons of carbon dioxide and purify the air. The Chinese have already gone ahead with converting some of their desert areas into green belts. While as these people so conscious about their environment are trying to convert deserts into green belts, we, on the other hand, are converting our green belts into barren land which may ultimately turn into deserts. We have virtually massacred our lush green forests in many places. According to forest policy of India, 33% of the total area of every region in plains and 60% in the Himalayan region must be under forest but unfortunately the forest area in India is not more than 22%. Similarly forest area in Nagaland is also decreasing. In addition to intentional deforestation by timber smugglers, some government agencies and even people bordering the forests, the green belt has further been damaged by large scale conversion of agricultural land for construction of private houses, residential colonies, and some state government offices. There are no two opinions that agriculture is the primary economic activity in our State. Majority of our people are linked with agriculture. In fact, in earlier times our State was self-sufficient in food and vegetables but not now. The bulk of our food grains and vegetables are imported from outside. The report that the there is large scale migration of population from the rural to urban sector in the State should be taken seriously by all concerned. According to a study, migration of population from rural to urban sector in Nagaland has gone up beyond expectation over the years leading to a drop in rural population. The study reveals that the large scale migration has resulted in decline of rural population, and the working force in the villages has been reduced whereby the jhum cycle has been raised from 7-10 years to 10-15 years. The migration from the rural to urban sector has led to residential as well as commercial buildings being constructed on agricultural land. It has also given rise to numerous slum like colonies in the urban areas. Also, a number of shopping complexes, residential colonies and even government buildings are coming up on the once agricultural land. While measures to curb the migration of population from rural to urban areas should be taken by the authorities, there are also no two opinions that we must save our forests, our green belt. Otherwise we would be leaving a hell for our future generations. And this government alone cannot do it. One has to have a strong and universal movement involving all the citizens to save our green belt. The movement has to involve the entire society regardless of political beliefs or affiliations. If our environment goes, it is immaterial whatever political or physical set up we have in future. The unusual weather being experienced is giving us a warning. If we do not heed the warning and act now, we are doomed.