31 October 2019
Bhubaneswar: Environmentalists, as well as commoners, have expressed concern over the prospects of the catastrophe that may put large parts of coastal Odisha under Ganjam, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak and Balasore districts at greater risk of deluge and inundation, affecting lakhs of people by 2050 due to rise in sea level.
The findings of Climate Central, a science organization based in New Jersey, published in the journal Nature Communications on Tuesday, put nearly three times as many people in coastal areas at risk from flooding than previously thought, and are the result of new advances in elevation modeling technology. As per the findings the entire coastline of Odisha stretching from Ganjam to Balasore is at risk of falling below the elevation of an average annual coastal flood by 2050.
Climate Central's project maps shows a scary picture coastal eco-systems such as Bhitarkanika National Park, Balukhand-Konark Wildlife Sanctuary, Chandrabhaga beach and areas surrounding Chilika lake may submerge or face permanent inundation due to increasing level of sea levels, which has been projected to rise between 2 and 7 feet, and possibly more, in the next three decades.
Noted environmentalist Biswajit Mohanty speaking to Ommcom News over the phone said: "In fact the latest research available worldwide indicate that the rate of climate change is increasing by geometric progression and change will be here sooner than expected which is alarming by itself because none of the governments are prepared to mitigate those impacts would be disastrous as well as catastrophic."
He was of the view that unfortunately none of the governments are serious about tackling climate change.
"And all of us are doomed in one way or other in the future because both the poor nations as well as the rich nations will be affected. Poor State like Odisha will be affected as well as rich State like Maharashtra will be affected in India," he lamented and added "most of the impacts are going to be irreversible".
Mohanty maintained the only thing which could have been done is to do it now while adding that he doesn't see anything happening either in India or abroad.
"The kind of development path we have chosen the world over is causing more emission of greenhouse gases, rise in temperature and climate change. All big cities which are mostly situated on the shores of seas will be flooded by water from the seas because of a rise in sea level caused by melting of ice on the poles," pointed out environmentalist Jay Krushna Panigrahi of the Orissa Environmental Society.
Panigrahi said that need of the hour is a two-pronged approach-adaptation and mitigation. He stated that adaption is what people will do and mitigation is what steps the government will take.
"We need to bring down emission of greenhouse gases and stop all negative activities that are damaging the environment to keep it protected," he pointed out and warned "In future natural disasters that are going to happen will be graver in nature so preparedness has to be at all levels with more efficiency".
Locals of Paradip have expressed serious concern over the degrading environment in the highly industrialized port town.
"We are on the path of destruction. We are destroying our earth as well as our environment. Earlier, our grandparents, parents experienced six seasons now we are experiencing two seasons. Still there is time, we need to awaken. If we don't, very little time is left for the earth to perish. A day is not far-off when we will be destroyed by nature. Paradip has become one of the most polluted places. Because of smog at times you feel its evening in the day," said Ayaskant Ray.
"The environment is being destroyed because of felling trees for development. In Paradip because of development work there has been large-scale felling of trees which has resulted in large-scale erosion by the sea in Paradip, Balikuda and Erasama areas. We feel that in about a year Dhinkia panchayat won't exist. The dredging done by Indian Oil will one day become the cause of its nemesis. This is not limited to Paradip only but the entire coastline of Odisha. If the government doesn't plant enough trees it's certainly going to create a threat to the living world," said Ranjan Bardhan.
"Planting of trees in Odisha has not been done as per the commitments made at different forums. In my personal opinion, the natural mangrove forests along coasts should be revived and restored. Forest along the coasts can serve as a natural wall against the sea, otherwise, the kind of industrialization and modernization we have undertaken will wipe out several cities, cause immense loss to life and property. We should all take a pledge at all levels individual, governmental, voluntary to protect the environment in the eastern coast by restoring nature's security ring or mangrove forests,” said Sarat Rout another resident of Paradip.