Avoiding Man-Made Disasters - Eastern Mirror
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Editorial

Avoiding Man-Made Disasters

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Sep 14, 2023 1:01 am

India has been frequently hit by hydro-meteorological disasters during the last few years, which have caused huge destruction of lives and property. Apart from states that fall within the Himalayan region which have been the worst affected by disasters, other parts of the country too have faced several natural calamities. Cyclones are hitting coastal India with unfailing regularity these days. It will not be right to solely blame global warming, for everything that the country is witnessing; the human quest for never ending expansion is also another important factor responsible for such disasters. Activities such as blocking the natural course of rivers, encroaching floodplains, dumping various waste on river backs, etc. have become a common feature in India. It is not possible for a single nation or state to combat global warming as all nations are responsible for the emission of greenhouse gases that causes global warming, the fight needs to be a collective one. However, restoring the original course of a river or removing waste debris from river banks can be done by the concerned state and its citizens. India has now entered the phase where the government as well as citizens need to join hands to get rid of the menaces that are causing frequent disasters. One thing is for sure, if environmental laws are implemented effectively many man-made disasters can be prevented.

In this context, the practice of putting weightage on urban needs and ignoring nature’s limits should be stopped immediately. Instead, a comprehensive plan aimed at sustainable development should be drawn and implemented to minimise the chances of being hit by natural disasters. The Himalayan region for instance, is both strategically and geographically important to India. At the same time, the region attracts a huge number of tourists every year and contributes heavily to strengthening the economies of states like Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The formulation of development plans for this region, requires a thorough understanding of these factors to ensure the least amount of detriment to nature. The recent subsidence of Joshimath should act as an eye-opener to all. The place has a sizable army presence as it is near to the Indo-China border and simultaneously, devotees visiting the Badrinath temple use this route as the holy shrine is situated only 41 km away. So, the number of hotels and other facilities for devotees have come up in the area ignoring the fragile natural environment of the Himalayas. It is now clear that these unplanned constructions have caused subsidence in Joshimath. The current situation could have easily been avoided with strategic planning, however all warning signs were ignored. Similarly, wetlands and floodplains have been encroached in cities like Delhi and Kolkata and in most cities in south India. The administration should take immediate cognisance of the dangerous practices to ensure that no further violations are committed by developers. The country has already paid a huge price for the destruction of nature and we can’t expect to continue the same way without being subjected to nature’s fury. The need of the hour is to strike the right balance between nature and development and it is our collective responsibility to work towards it.

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Sep 14, 2023 1:01:45 am
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