Modi 2.0 has taken oath and many Twitterati are (naturally and rightly) out with their wish list from the new government. In this humdrum a very vital news report lost its significance.
Why I feel it’s a vital news I will explain with 4 maps. There are three fundamental things a human needs to live and grow 1) Air 2) Water 3) Land (for food, living etc)
MAP 1 : Population
This world map has only 10% of the world’s population plotted. The red part has 5% of the world population and the blue has another 5%. Bihar, WB and Bangladesh with only minuscule of land area are contributing as much population as that large blue area which has whole of Australia, Canada and Scandinavia. Clearly the small land mass in Red is unsustainable for human population growth
MAP 2 : Forest Density
This map depicts the forestation that is vital for ecology. There are large black area that represent the desert area of Australia, Sahara and Gobi. But do you see India? It’s an almost black mass with a thin strip of forest in Himalayan Terai region, south western ghats and Bastar and central India. The high population of the country is taking its toll on Flora and Fauna. A natural forest can be cut in a year but takes 100 years to afforest a deforested land to its original form.
MAP 3 : Air pollution
Forest works as lungs of the landmass. With high population and negligible forest it is natural to have high amount of dust and pollutants in the air. Whole of Indus and Ganges valley has high air population. Air pollution has already started taken its toll on old and the children in Delhi NCR. Many people have already started migrating out of Delhi NCR for fear of Air pollution. But other areas of India are just few year away from where Delhi NCR stands now. And its just the start!
MAP 4 : Water Scarcity
All ancient civilization developed on the river banks due to easy access of water. Indus-Saraswati civilization is said to have died due to lack of water when river Saraswati dried up. Water is something we are fast consuming and depleting. Almost most of India is now water stressed. Even world bank is predicting water wars in coming future. (Here we are talking just about water availability and not have gone into the water quality issues which in itself is a very vast subject) Indian government is trying to interlink Rivers and that may delay the situation by few years but not for long. Himalayan Glaciers are melting and Ground water is depleting fast and cannot be replenished fast enough. It takes years for Soil aquifers to filter the rain water and for snow to get converted into Glaciers.
Clearly all 3 pillars that sustain life in India ; of Land availability, water availability and clean air availability are crumbling and crumbling fast. If the situation continues unabated for some more years we may see a start of population collapse and/or mass migration as a nature’s way of correcting balance. Environment and Ecology cannot be improved overnight and not without a commensurate population control (or reduction). Population control bills is the ask of the time and if we fail to control our population; Nature will not. And therein lies the Prophecy!
Note: This whole analysis is done as a point in time and does not factor in rate of degradation. That will help in estimating the time we have left to act. however that does not take away the glaring need to ACT.