10 Apr 2024  |   04:01am IST

Stop tampering with nature

A series of disturbing news regarding our environment has been making headlines since the past one month.

Early March, the residents of Siolim took to streets by holding candlelight vigils to protest against the chopping of centuries-old heritage trees for widening of the road. Matter went to the High Court, which then granted stay on the felling of trees.

Then this month, residents of Panjim had to take to the streets against felling of an 80-year-old tree and other trees in St Inez as it acted as an impediment to the advancement of Smart City works. If that was not all, a 200-year-old banyan tree which was firmly rooted in St Inez, was uprooted on Saturday and “translocated” to the football ground at Campal, Panjim.

The next news that came in was that the Karnataka government rejected, for the second time, the implementation of the controversial Goa-Tamnar 400 KV quad transmission line linear project within the Western Ghats and asked the officials to recommend an alternative line outside the protected area.

Goa Foundation (GF), the petitioner in the Supreme Court against the three linear projects, criticised the Goa Forest Department, while the environmental crusaders in Goa, who have been fighting a long battle against the three linear projects in the State including the power transmission line, welcomed the decision of the Karnataka government and hoped that the Goa government would reconsider the decisions taken so far and follow suit.

All this comes in the backdrop of another disturbing news. According to reports, Goa is likely to experience normal to above normal maximum temperatures this summer, according to the India Meteorological Department.

It is no brainer that the Earth's climate is getting warmer, and the signs are seen universally. Rainfall patterns are changing, sea level is rising, snow and ice are melting sooner in the spring. By 2100 AD, global temperature is expected to rise by about 2°C and consequently, the sea level by about 50 cm from the present level.

This rise in temperature is expected to increase the level of the sea by expanding ocean water, melting mountain glaciers, causing ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland to melt and slide into the oceans.

Climate change can have a far-reaching effect by impacting just about every aspect of human life. It can affect our water resources, forests and other natural ecological systems, agriculture, power generation, infrastructure, tourism, and human health.

Less rain can mean less water for some places, while too much rain may result in flooding at others. Hotter days can damage crops and affect human and animal health.

We have already seen the harmful impact of global climate change in Goa. There has been a rise in extreme weather events. There has been an increase in cyclones on the Arabian Sea. We are witnessing flooding every year due to heavy rainfall.

The havoc created by climate change is there for all to see. But our authorities seem to be oblivious to the danger. Illegal constructions are mushrooming across Goa, violating all environment rules.

While development is necessary, there has to be a balance. Goans are lucky to have massive green cover, which still acts as a shield against impacts of global climate change. But this is under threat due to blatant human greed. If unchecked, this greed will lead to irreversible destruction and no amount of money will be able to save us.

We should stop tampering with nature in the pretext of development. Those who are destroying nature for their vested interests, should know that they won’t be spared of nature’s wrath either. Wake up before it’s too late.

Least we can do is learn from the disastrous impact of climate change that has gripped other States of the country, primarily caused by destruction of the ecology.


Idhar Udhar