Still slumbering


The Monsoons always pour down bountiful blessings every year ~ unfortunately, they are accompanied by agonizing banes. But the Monsoons cannot be faulted for all the woes that visit us at this time of the year ~ as much as it would be a form of simplistic escapism to blame climate change for the much degraded global environment. As Nagaland reels under destructions, which we blame on the Monsoons and climatic change, it is also imperative that we study why we are confronting landslides and water-logging that have cost precious human lives, destroyed homes and rice fields, erased what have been passed off as roads, etc., particularly this year. First ~ the Monsoons always arrive every year so knowing that fully well the question is how well have we been prepared for them? This is crucial because of Nagaland’s geography and topography, which determine our soil conditions, etc. So yes, if we construct huge buildings on loose soil, the rains will eventually bring them down ~ or the roads, for that matter. Then there is the issue of the quality of construction of buildings, roads and other infrastructures, as well as the regularity of quality repairs and maintenance ~ and let’s not forget site selection right from the planning stage. All these actually boil down to expertise, as also adherence, compliance and enforcement of environment laws and town planning. Simultaneously, they are also related to judicious funds management ~ not “funds availability” because we know that more than adequate funds have been pouring into Nagaland in the past few decades. Secondly, we have started talking about climate change as if it is something new that started just the other day. We also aren’t asking why climate change is occurring ~ for which everyone needs to take responsibility, not just industrial nations. In fact, considering that ours is an agrarian society and all our customs, traditions, cultures and belief-systems are deeply rooted in our land, it is strange that we are still not fully woken up to the undeniable fact of climate change ~ particularly because the impact of climate change has severely affected our agricultural production, as much as with the use of fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals besides the use of Genetically Modified (GM) seeds. When our state Government Departments, related to agriculture and allied sectors, hold forth on revival, documentation, etc., of our traditional crops, cereals, etc., they don’t realize how pathetic they sound because their faulty and flawed planning and policies connote the destruction and degradation of our traditional agricultural practices, which preserved and conserved our soil and by extension a great part of our environment. Our medical community is at a loss over the unexplained and inexplicable aliments and diseases that our people are afflicted with but probably we need to test the quality of our air and water, the level of pollution and the chemicals in our food ~ and of course, our hygiene quotient, the indiscriminate ingestion of overly-prescribed antibiotics and self-medication. When despite the existence of town planning laws, there are no demarcations between residential, commercial and industrial areas, water and air pollution are bound to happen causing ailments and diseases besides degrading our soil ~ especially when there are no adherence, compliance and enforcement of garbage and sanitation laws and no space for garbage disposal demarcated. Yes, every Monsoon, our land will flatten out bit by bit, our forests will disappear and water-logging will inundate our low-laying areas destroying homes, farms and human lives. Yes, buildings, roads and bridges collapse all over the world but in most cases “human error” has been proved to be the cause, not so much the natural calamities. Yes, like everyone else, we also did what we thought was best for our “development” despite warnings and cautions by environmental experts. And so like everyone else, we are paying the price but it will never cover the magnitude of the damage done. It is time for our political and public leaders of all hues to focus attention on our environment because it is our home without which the uniqueness of our history, culture, our aspirations, our rights, our quest for political and economic power, whatever, are extraneous. Meanwhile, our state Government needs to immediately address our environmental issues and redraw our environmental policy and base our developmental policy on it. It should immediately seek expert opinions, advice and guidance. Or stop talking about development because there is no record of development occurring in thin air.