UPSC Exam   »   Down To Earth Magazine

Analysis Of DTE Magazine( July 2022, Part 2): Climate Change & Assam Floods 

Down To Earth Magazine is a fortnightly magazine focusing on politics of environment and development, published in New Delhi, India.

UPSC Previous years’ questions on Development, Environment, Health and Disaster Management give us a clear idea about the increased importance of Down To Earth Magazine.

Down To Earth Magazine is one of the most important and indispensable source for UPSC Civil Services Exam Preparation. Keeping this in mind, here, we come with ”Gist Of Down To Earth Magazine” which covers important environmental current affairs articles in smooth pointed form, keeping in mind the demand of UPSC aspirants.

 

Climate Change & Assam Floods: Introduction

 

  • The recent floods in Assam have affected 400,000 people in the state.
  • The combination of climatic and non-climatic factors make Assam extremely vulnerable to climate change.
  • According to the latest data with NITI Aayog, Assam is home to 10 of the top 13 districts in India that are most vulnerable to climate change. All 10 districts in the state experienced floods this year.
  • Recurring large floods have breached embankments, causing erosion of banks and changes in the course of the rivers.

 

Climate Change & Assam Floods: Key Effects on Ecology

 

  • Assam’s State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC) identifies change in rainfall patterns as one of the major causes of the state’s vulnerability to climate change.
  • The vulnerability may only rise as the planet warms and people make unscientific interventions in the ecology. Vulnerability and erratic monsoon have made 40 per cent of the state prone to floods (10 per cent of the country’s total flood prone area), as per the Rashtriya Barh Ayog (National Commission on Floods).
  • Consistent and persistent floods have been eroding 8,000 hectares every year; the state has lost close to 7 per cent of its land to erosion since 1954.
  • The rich biodiversity of Assam is due to the fertility of the topsoil that used to get re-plenished by the floods every year. Today, it is being washed away and there is widespread soil erosion.

 

Unprecedented Increase In Assam Flood Duration

 

  • 30 years ago, people used to welcome floods as an annual brief event. They used to last for a week or two and were predictable. Now, floods come in waves with increasing ferocity. Even rainfall used to be moderate. But now there are sudden heavy downpours.
  • But in a warming world, floods are no longer an annual affair in Assam, but a year-round crisis. As people struggle to cope with the new reality, some are already changing their cropping patterns and architecture
  • Typically, floods in Assam begin in June with the arrival of the southwest monsoon. But lately, they have been occurring much earlier, lingering through the four-month monsoon season, sometimes continuing till October, and making more and more areas vulnerable to the disaster.
  • In 2019, the flood season extended till November 1, making it the longest-lasting in recent times. The following year too recorded a similar prolonged flood season, affecting 5 million people, shows data with the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA).

 

Climate Change & Assam Floods: Is Climate Change the Only Factor?

 

  • There is also doubt that the floods in Assam, Meghalaya and even in neighbouring Bangladesh were not because of changing climate alone.
  • This region, like the rest, has completely messed up the design of its floodplains; it has built where it should not have; it has tried and failed to embank the hard-to-tame Brahmaputra and other rivers.
  • Now, with increased deforestation in the uplands, the rate of erosion has increased, and silt has filled up the rivers, making them shallow and more flood-prone.
  • Then the low-lying areas where rain and flood waters could be stored have been mercilessly massacred. The famous beels of Assam have lost the battle to buildings.

 

Conclusion

 

It’s strange how quickly we have become inured to the weather crises around us. It is high time to let’s get real. There is nothing normal about these weather events.

 

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