Opinion: Kerala floods a man-made disaster

Written By: Puniti Pandey
Delhi, India Published: Aug 22, 2018, 03:50 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The situation has worsened to a level where we cannot restore the destruction done to the society. All we can do is to just sit helplessly and pray that nature does not inflicts such intensity on us. 

The recent havoc in Kerala that claimed more than 370 lives in the state and damaged over thousand crores worth property, would have been averted if the people had shown a little concern over the growing ecological imbalance in the state.

Recorded as the worst flood of the century the intensity of the rains in the recent monsoon in Kerala was more than the normal rainfall that the state receives every year. The strong south-west monsoon which resulted in the torrential rains flooded the lakes and rivers of the state.

But the destruction caused cannot be blamed entirely on the rains and the submerged water bodies. 

A Madhav Gadgil committee report had made recommendations to preserve the Western Ghats which acts as a blanket to the southern state in August 2011. The report had recommended 57 restrictions to safeguard the western ghats.

Ecologist Madhav Gadgil, who headed the Western Ghats Ecology Panel, had suggested that several regions in Kerala which come under the Western Ghats should be classified as ecologically sensitive areas. 

Despite the recommendations, construction was allowed over the Western Ghats, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Western Ghats which act as Kerala's blanket could have prevented the strong winds from flowing towards the state. Referring to the illegal construction on river beds and the unauthorised stone quarrying, Gadgil also called the floods and landslides in Kerala as a man-made disaster.

A media report quoted Gadgil as saying that the irresponsible environmental policy is to be blamed for the recent floods and landslides in Kerala.

He also added that the rapid urbanisation which leads to encroachment over the water bodies has impacted the natural penetration process of the land. 

The Kochi airport which is constructed on the canal connecting the land and the water body further obstructed the outflow of water. The land diverted to agriculture in the state is also decreasing at an alarming rate. The paddy fields which would once absorb water have now been converted into urban infrastructure.

A similar man-made flood had created a havoc in Chennai in 2015. Every year during the monsoon season, most part of the country is submerged under water. The inefficiency on the part of the government and the indifferent attitude of the people have already done much harm to the country's ecological balance. 

The situation has worsened to a level where we cannot restore the destruction done to the society. All we can do is to just sit helplessly and pray that nature does not inflict such intensity on us. 

While we blame the nature's wrath behind such disasters, most such calamities are caused due to the ever-growing human interference and ecological imbalance.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)

Puniti Pandey

A new entrant in the journalism field, Puniti Pandey works with the WION Digital Team. Social and Political injustice along with degrading natural resources concerns her a lot.
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