‘Water bodies under threat’

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Observed annually to raise global awareness of the need to take positive environmental action, World Environment Day (WED) looks at ways for making our world cleaner, greener, and brighter. Ahead of WED on June 5, STOI brings to the forefront key environmental issues in the state that require attention.

There will be tremendous pressure on water bodies, forests, wildlife , etc. which will lead to irreversible pressure on Goa’s coastal belt, believes environmental activist,Ramesh Gauns .

“Goa is going to face a catastrophe when the impact of climate change begins to show its effects. Being a coastal state, Goa will be severely damaged.” he said.

He elaborated that mining has destroyed the pristine regions of the state so much that in future, Goa will lose its tourism. “With mining causing degradation of the environment, Goa will lose its tourism, thus putting a dent to the second biggest source of state revenue. This is a very terrifying picture,” he said.

While growing number of concrete jungles in the state are providing housing options for citizens, in the flurry of rampant constructions, builders are overlookingCRZ violations and converting agricultural land into development zones.

“Agricultural land maintains the micro-climatic conditions of the state. The habitat of flora and fauna gets affected when that land is converted to development zone. Due to such activities, biological diversity of our state has slowly vanished,” said Nitin Sawant , former member secretary, Goa state biodiversity board.

He also said that due to encroachment of cashew plantations in forest lands, a number of species are getting affected, like the artocarpus lacucha , the flacourtia indica, etc. “There are many medicinal plants, and butterfly species that are also lost ,” he said.

Global warming and rising water levels in the ocean are both a matter of serious concern, chief scientist, Council of scientific & industrial research-national institute of oceanography(CSIR-NIO), Dr Prasanna Kumar told TOI.

“The marine ecosystem along the Malabar and Konkan coasts will be impacted largely by global warming,” he said.

The executive secretary of mangrove society of India, A G Untawale said that the state’s marine ecology also has to be considered. For instance, dredging in the rivers due to siltation, instances of soil erosion and its run off into water bodies, overfishing in the seas, etc. are disrupting the balance of the ecosystem.

“Also, there are places where there is seepage of sewage water in the natural waters. Experts should survey that area and study the pollution level of the water in those areas,” he said.

Source:The Times of India 

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