Over 190 people dead in just over a week and almost 300,000 people displaced, 444 villages and towns hit. All of this because of a flood that we could have avoided easily; simply by listening to a committee’s report filed years ago. This flood, quite like many other natural disasters, was not “natural”. Natural implies it was nature’s fault, that it was sudden, unpredictable and unavoidable. But this flood was neither of those things. It had been predicted, it was not sudden and it was definitely avoidable. Sometimes ignorance is simply not bliss.
“This was waiting to happen. Insensible use of land, soil and rocks led to this deluge. Landslips and flash floods happened in areas that witnessed widespread human incursions. I hope everyone will learn a lesson from this. Due to climate change, such tragedies are bound to increase. Nobody can stop rains or control floods. But we can take measures to lower the intensity of such impacts,” – Dr. VS Vijayan, a member of the Gadgil Committee. The Gadgil Committee had proposed a report that would change how land was treated in the Western Ghats in Kerala. In Kerala, the impact of rainfall has been steadily increasing along with increasing rainfall since 1900 and has now reached unsafe levels.
This was attributed to many factors such as irresponsible farming, deforestation, global warming, unrestricted and ill-planned human incursions and developmental activities that did not follow scientific methods. All this eventually led to the high impact of rain in the region which has now, regrettably, led to the Kerala flood.
To do our part and help prevent future disaster such as this, Goel Ganga Group is proposing 5 ways of behaving responsibly in Ecologically Sensitive Areas.
We at GGG realize that there is no stopping human expansion, at least not yet. But we can expand responsibly. We must not simply go building houses wherever we please. We must make sure that the land on which we build is not blocking a nala that flows only in the monsoons or that we do not dig up hillsides or cut down trees. Building in such a heedless way could very well de-stabilize the soil and cause a landslide or block the natural flow of water and cause flood later. We at GGG ensure that we follow these criteria for our projects so that we take care of our planet and our residents at the same time.
With expanding human population comes demand to feed that population and to fulfill that demand, our farms expand further and further into forests or increased use of chemical fertilizers. This unrestrained expansion in farming can be potentially one of the more dangerous factors in short and long term effect. Behaving much like irresponsible construction, this too will affect the rain cycle and could potentially cause floods.
Cutting down trees has more repercussions than what we have been taught in school. Other than destroying the local eco systems and reducing the number of oxygen producing life on the earth, after deforestation the land on which those might trees once stood becomes loose and unstable. It turns into a delicate house of cards and one push will send it over the edge. In this case, the push is again rains. They can cause massive land-slides and floods in the affected regions. Cutting trees is simply not the answer. We at GGG ensure that only those trees that are necessary are cut thus reducing the number of trees cut for our projects to a minimum. Not just that but we try to transplant the trees wherever possible as well as planting new trees in other areas to compensate for those that are cut down.
Our factories give out so much easily avoidable toxic exhaust every day that it is slowly heating up our planets. The melting of the polar ice caps, in some cases decreased rainfall, toxic rivers and even the Kerala floods are evidence of that. This toxic exhaust however can be filtered clean and the chemicals disposed off safely. There are methods in place to do that. Our companies simply need to start following those methods.
As previously stated, widespread and irresponsible agriculture led to this moment and will lead to many more like it down the road. As per one policy under consideration by the government is the passing of a moratorium on agricultural loans for the time being. This will lead to a decrease in the expansion of farmland and thus a decrease in the reduction in forest cover. It will also give us the time needed to figure out what to do about the other issues that plague India and mankind that has led to this crisis.
Until we figure out what exactly went wrong and until we actively try to fix it and own up to our mistakes, calamities like these are going to keep on happening and their frequency is just going to keep on increasing. And together with you, we at Goel Ganga hope to keep our projects as environment friendly as possible and in line with our #IdeaofIndia.