Climate change is adding on to the cases of forest fires in India and many other natural disasters

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Climate change is a real issue world is dealing with. It is having an impact on people, animals and environment and climate patterns directly. According to a latest report by the Indian administration last year, global warming will result in a rise in heavy rainfall events, cyclones, and more droughts in India over the period of this century.

Ministry of earth and sciences released a complete report about how global warming is changing weather conditions drastically and will result into occurrence of natural disasters quite often in India by the end of this century.

Recently, Bandhavgarh tiger reserve (National park) in India was burning for straight 3 days. Lot of efforts were made to calm it down, but the fire spread across six forest ranges and burned entire Khitauli zone. Although at present, the reason behind the fire is assumed to be man-made during the Holi holidays but due to the bamboo clumps and heat waves in the region, forest fire has covered large areas violently.

Forest fires are considered as one of the major and deadly impact of global warming. And India’s forests have faced several numbers of fire in few years due to this reason and suffered heavy loss and consequences. The forest fires have caused severe havoc to the ecosystem, which includes emission of carbon gas. According to the data released by forest survey of India in 2019, area prone to fire in India is analyzed as 1,52,421 km square, out of 7,12,249 km square of forest cover. And according to the information available, forests of Chhattisgarh, Mizoram, Odisha, Manipur and Madhya Pradesh are under the red zones.

India’s record-breaking rise in temperature has always put people in shock around summers. This year, temperature of the month March breaks the record of past 11 years and is called as one of hottest March. Heat waves and humidity gets extreme during May and June in India. Global heating is contributing to forest fires and those fires are leading to further heating and rise in temperature.  

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Joyeeta Bhattacharyya is an environmentalist and have working experience in the field of environmental services with various national and international NGOs and government organizations. Joyeeta while explaining the major contributors to climate change said, ”Expansion of anthropogenic settlement leading to deforestation and shrinkage of forest cover are the major issues in India followed by extensive industrial activities and vehicular pollution. Climate change according to me, cannot be categorized as country wise but is a global issue. Anthropogenic activities, not only in India but across the world is the major contributor towards the climate change.”

Shared about the changed climate patterns and extreme weather conditions, environmentalist Joyeeta said, ”The increased level of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) like carbon dioxide, Sox, NOx, methane etc. are the major reasons behind the increase of the Earth’s average surface temperature leading to climate change and resulting in erratic seasons such as intense early summers, irregular monsoon patterns etc.” The GHGs are mostly released into the environment due to the vehicular and automobile emissions followed by industrial emissions and discharges and other anthropogenic activities. ‘The current CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere is approximately 409 ppm which is way higher than the atmospheric threshold of 350 ppm,’ she later added. The highest temperature recorded in India till date is 50 degree Celsius in Sri Ganganagar and is considered as one of the hottest Places of India.

Joyeeta commented on increase cases of forest fires and reasons behind it. she said, ”Forest fire is generally a natural event. Natural causes like lightning and friction between dry branches may lead to forest fire. But the increased cases of forest fires, as reported nowadays definitely are caused due to anthropogenic activities. Careless acts of humans like dropping a burning matchstick can start a massive forest fire. Ecotourism should be very carefully conducted or may be avoided to restrict such man-made accidents.”

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According to Joyeeta, natural disasters nowadays are in most cases human induced. She said, ‘Even if the disaster is due to natural reasons, the casualties and loss of life and property encountered are due to extended human settlements. She recalled the Himalayan tsunami in 2013. ”Although it was due to natural phenomenon but due to the excessive settlements and anthropogenic activities, the casualties and losses encountered was much more’, she further added. Mentioning India’s suffering and comparing it to past few years she said, ‘The glacier burst in Chamoli, Uttarakhand, early this year and cyclones like Amphen, erratic floods and drought events are the result of climate change. The suffering has increased many folds compared to the last century.”

Speaking about the future of the country in terms of climate change, she told Eat News, ”If the present situation, one may doubt whether there would be any future at all for the planet Earth, speaking particularly about India and other developing countries. Climate refuge would be a big problem. You cannot just hide behind the poor and fight Climate Change.”

Being an environmentalist and active volunteer in this field, planet earth is no less than a ”mother” to Joyeeta Bhattacharyya. Passing on the message to world out there, she said, ”It’s high time to put environment before economy and development. if there’s no safe water to drink and clean air to breathe and pure food to eat, what will you do with the money or economy? It’s time to act responsibly before sustainable development becomes a myth.”

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Shefali Ranawat is an Eat News correspondent in India. She want to be the voice of people. Also, she aim to be a war correspondent.

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Eat News is a Taiwanese digital media, analyzes current events and issues through column articles, videos, visual aid, and exclusive interviews.

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