- Impact of the Flood
- Cause of such floods similar to Kerala
- Impact of Climate Change
- Construction as a cause of Flood in Kerala
- IT’s Input
Biodiversity in the time of deluge
For IASToppers’ Editorial Simplified Archive, click here
- In mid-August 2018, Kerala experienced severe floods and is still struggling to deal with their devastating impact.
- However, Kerala is facing similar situation in 2019 monsoon which shows human-induced natural imbalance in the State.
Impact of the Flood
- It most impacts the poorest people of the society, causing a loss of lives, livelihood options and assets.
- They also place an enormous burden on the government in terms of reconstruction budgets.
- Floods also wash away top soil and substantial biodiversity of the area, resulting in a reduced river-water flow, death of earthworms and spread of viral and bacterial diseases among crops.
Cause of floods
- The root cause of such floods, not only in Kerala but elsewhere, is the high precipitation levels.
- However, other factors are of anthropogenic factors like unscientific construction practices and over-exploitation of nature.
Impact of Climate Change
- As per an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the Global Green House Gases emissions grew by 70% between 1970 and 2004.
- Global warming has had critical effects on the hydrological cycle and water is the primary medium through which the climate change affects the people.
- The changing precipitation alters the hydrological systems, resulting in floods and droughts in different regions.
Construction as a cause of Flood in Kerala
- While services (63.1%) and industry (25.6%) sectors dominate Kerala’s economy, agriculture is becoming insignificant (11.3% of State GDP).
- Due to high population density (860 persons per sq. km, Indian average is 382), the shift from a joint family system to a single-family one and a greater inflow of money, has resulted in an increased construction of luxurious houses and resorts.
- The government has also been developing extensive infrastructure to support the industry sectors.
- In Kerala, people bought land from farmers over the decades not for cultivation but for construction.
- If this trend continues, vast tracts of paddy fields and other low-lying places will get converted to plots or buildings, impacting the Kerala’s ability to handle floods.
- It is important to take the appropriate decision on the type and size of the structure, its location, materials it proposes to use, and permissible damages it will cause to the nature.
- The government should not replicate the super luxurious construction model of Gulf countries in Kerala’s fragile and ecologically sensitive landscapes.
- With the certainty that climate change is already impacting most countries, there is no option but to take adequate precautions through dam management and timely public alerts.
- There is, at present, a lack of clarity on how best natural assets could be restored.
- A broader assessment of floods from a sustainable development perspective, by limiting economic growth options within the carrying capacity of the ecosystem, is the need of the hour.
For More information on ‘Floods in India: Lessons to learn’, refer IASToppers Mains Article. Click here: