Best of 2022 on Ground Report: Climate change and much more

They were nothing more than proof of the impact of this phenomenon induced by human activity and of the urgency to act before it is too late, experts and various United Nations agencies linked to the environment and development point out.

2022 was in charge of demonstrating to humanity how much it has damaged nature, hence the record heat waves, melting of European glaciers, rising sea levels, floods, long droughts, forest fires, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, melting of the poles, changes in ecosystems, mass migrations and acidification of the oceans.

Here, we highlight the top 10 stories from 2022 that focused on Climate Change, Kashmir human conflict, Pollution, documentary about victims of Landmine, fishermen of Bhopal and deforestation.

Cost of Development: Almond Farmers losing land in Kashmir

By Wahid Bhat on August 31, 2022

In recent decades, anthropogenic changes in the earth’s climate have become the focus of scientific and social attention. The rigorous process exists for a reason. Kashmir’s paddy fields have already been destroyed by brick kilns and almond orchards on karewa (high plateau) lands have been wasted due to clay mining. Now almonds– a scenic area in Pulwama district is losing their charm due to pollution emanating from brick kilns.

Almond orchards Smoke billowing from a brick kiln in Pulwama Photo Credit: Wahid Bhat/Ground Report

Gulzar Ahmad Zargar, another resident of Pulwama, had more than 10 kanals of almond-growing land since 1900, but that has now been reduced to about 20 cut trees. The grower has switched to apple farming after failing to find buyers for his almond production on the market.

Kashmir human-wildlife conflict: 241 people die since 2006

In the last sixteen years, 241 people have been hunted by animals, and more than 3000 people have been injured by wild animal attacks in Kashmir valley. While it was found that from 2012 to 2020, 44 leopards and 124 black bears died. 

Data reveals that in 2006-07, 18 people were killed and 134 people injured in the human-animal conflict in the Kashmir Valley. “In 2007-08, 15 people lost their lives and 141 were injured. In 2008-09, 22 people died and 193 were injured. In 2009-10, 20 people died and 232 were injured and in 2010-11, 24 people lost their lives and 306 were injured in human-animal conflicts,” the figures show.

Climate Change: Why are Kargil Villages facing drought like situation?

In Ladakh, most of the Kargil villages are suffering from a drought-like situation. Most villages rely on glacial or spring water for irrigation and drinking water needs, which have been affected by depleting glaciers and the drying up spring water.

Other areas of Kargil city, such as the Balti Bazaar, Poyen and the main market, rely on hand pumps for their water. On the outskirts and higher reaches, tanker trucks supply water. These places are the TV Station, Tumail Colony, Petrol Pump, Police Line, Andoo, Haidary Mohallah and Baroo.

With ‘Urban Tigers’, human-animal conflicts to become frequent in Bhopal

By Dewanshi Tiwari

The conflicts between humans and wildlife majorly occur when there is an overlap of human and animal habitats. Lately, these conflicts have been frequent due to the ever-increasing human population, and the inevitable expansion of cities or urbanization. In addition, to fulfill the food requirements of the growing population economic activities like agriculture venture deep into the wild leading to conflicts.

Referred to as ‘Urban Tiger’, there are six resident tigers of Bhopal, and about eighteen moving around the forest corridors in the outskirts. As the city of Bhopal expands, more and more conflicts are bound to occur. Tiger sighting has become a regular event on the premises of the Water and Land Management Institute (WALMI) where a tigers seem to have settled owing to water availability.

Has the Bharat Jodo Yatra joined hands with the environment?

On the 7th of September 2022, INC’s (Indian National Congress) Rahul Gandhi embarked on a walk from the southern city of Kanyakumari. The collective party walk is called Bharat Jodo Yatra. The yatra is set to cover 3500 km spanning a total of 150 days, culminating in Srinagar. Former INC president Rahul Gandhi is leading the Bharat Jodo Yatra with utmost vigor and spirit.

Hence when I attended the Yatra, it made me curious about the environmental merits of the same. Let me put into words, what I saw.

The Yatra moved from Indore city over to the religious city of Ujjain, via Sanwer. Now the management of waste here was rather dealt with in a different way. One can easily observe the anomaly in management when it comes to urban and rural areas. Here, on the outskirts of Ujjain, we observed an accumulation of waste, mostly plastics, out in the open. The waste was polluting fields and could have been easily accessed by cattle.

Also Read:  Climate Change will fuel Humanitarian Crisis in 2023

Highlighting the suffering of women, four decades after the Bhopal Gas Tragedy

2nd of December, annually observed as National Pollution Control Day, to remember the nightmare that was the Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984. It has been 38 years since the suffering only began. With the gas leak, people had issues breathing, and instead irritation in their eyes. People who inhaled the toxic gas died. The number of deaths is still debated. Death was just the beginning of the havoc from one of the world’s biggest industrial tragedies.

Many female victims, children at the time, who barely managed to get married, now face the social evil of domestic violence owing to their inability to “serve” their in-laws well due to physical constraints. Women face trouble finding work due to the same reasons that restrict them economically. A direct consequence is that it leaves them even more vulnerable and dependent.

Beware! Landmines Ahead

By Pallav Jain

This documentary talks about the victims of Landmine blasts, living in the border area of Jammu & Kashmir. There is no official data available on landmine blast victims but according to data available in media, between 1999 and 2015, the Monitor identified 3,191 victims of activated mines or IEDs and ERW in India.

Of these, 1,083 were killed and 2,107 were injured, with the fate of one victim unknown. We have talked to these victims about the incident and the problems they are facing after it. There is no proper policy for the treatment of the victims and compensation for the accident.

Uttarakhand Villages in the grip of Alcoholism

Alcohol addiction is destroying the lives of people in the villages of Uttarakhand.  Babita Devi of Chaurasu village in Bageshwar district of Uttarakhand, who is also a panchayat member, says that ‘Here people buy liquor through government shop in Garud. Now Liquor is also available in the village. People work as laborers during the day and beat their children and women at night after getting drunk.’

Due to the social stigma attached to alcohol, people hesitate to talk about it. No help reaches those who seek solutions. The de-addiction centers are either in far-off cities or out of reach.

Babita Devi, a Panjayat member, says that when people harass women by drinking alcohol, she goes to their house with the sarpanch to explain to them, but the next day they start drinking again. The police also come and explain, but this addiction is such that people do not want to give it up.

Chestnut farming is the livelihood of Bhopal’s Fishermen

In the wetlands of Bhopal, in the month of November-December, you will see farmers plucking water chestnuts from the ponds. Water chestnut is a good source of income for fishermen in the city of lakes, Bhopal. Ground Report spoke to one such water chestnut farmer to know how he manages to water chestnut farming.

Upper Lake Near Khajuri Village. Photo Credit: Pallav Jain/Ground Report

Water chestnut farmers themselves choose their area in the pond. Water chestnut is sold in the market from the month of September to the second week of December. At the same time, these farmers take their boats to the ponds and harvest chestnuts.

On the question of pollution, Dev Rath Manjhi says that “You see, where water chestnut is planted, the pond will be clearly visible, and where it was not planted, there will be garbage in the pond. We do not only grow crops but also take care of the cleanliness of the pond.”This is our daily bread.”

After deforestation & demolition, Assam’s NH-37 four-lane far from complete

By Nayanika Phukan

There is no doubt that with a good network of roads comes various benefits such as socio-economic development, better production activities, and tourism. While traveling, we might complain about potholes, congestion, and whatnot. But, we do not usually spare a moment to think about how the highways are built.

Furthermore, the environmental consequences it brings with it. All over India, the widening or construction of new roads leads to the cutting of trees and the demolition of residential and commercial buildings. And, the northeastern state of Assam is no different.

Read More on Climate Change

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