Wetlands disappearing three times faster than forests

News this week
Deepor Beel in Assam (Source: IWP Flickr photos)
Deepor Beel in Assam (Source: IWP Flickr photos)

World is losing the wetlands at a rate of 0.78 percent a year: Ramsar Convention

The Global Wetland Outlook, presented by Ramsar Convention, has reported that wetlands are disappearing three times faster than forests with 35 percent of world's wetland lost between 1970-2015. As per the report, the average annual rate of wetland loss stands at 0.78 percent a year between 1990-2015 while the forest lost is 0.24 percent a year. The Convention has highlighted that the Wetland Outlook is a wake-up call for the world. The wetlands are not only a vital source of water and other critical services they also have a significant role to play in achieving the global agenda on sustainable development. 

Despite 'normal' monsoon, 251 districts reel under drought-like conditions

According to an analysis of the rainfall data for 2018, drought may hit over 37 percent of the country. The Northeastern states along with Gujarat, Jharkhand and Bihar bore the brunt of deficient rainfall this year. The country received just 91 percent of rains this season despite the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasting 97 percent of the 50-year average rainfall. Moreover, without any change in the overall rainfall this year, the country experienced an increase in heavy rainfall events. This implies that between heavy rainfall events, there are long, dry spells. 

One in four hydropower projects on Himalayan rivers at risk of earthquake-related damages: Report

According to a recent research, one in four hydropower projects along Himalayan rivers have high probabilities of moderate to severe damage from earthquake-triggered landslides. The study also highlights that more than 10 percent of potential hydropower project sites in the Himalayas could be unsuitable for hydropower infrastructure. The study has compiled the damages to 41 hydropower projects after Nepal’s 2015 earthquake and developed a model which took into account the combined effect of ground shaking and river steepness. It has been pointed out that there is an urgent need to re-evaluate hydropower development in the Himalayas. 

RTI reveals no pre-monsoon inspection done for dams in Kerala

In a reply to a Right to Information (RTI) query, the Central Water Commission (CWC) has revealed that none of the dams in the state were inspected before this year's monsoon. Kerala received 42 percent above normal rainfall this year, but the commission did not have any information of the criticality of the dams. As per the CWC records, two dams underwent pre-monsoon inspections in 2015, four in 2016, four in 2017 and none in 2018 while post-monsoon inspection has been conducted for two dams in 2015, five in 2016, four in 2017 and four in 2018. However, the commission did not disclose the names of the dams inspected. 

Heavy rains trigger froth in Bengaluru's lake again

Following overnight rains in the city recently, the Bellandur lake has frothed again, spewing 10-ft high toxic foam. The recent rains have also resulted in the frothing of the Kalkere lake in the north-eastern part of Bengaluru. The lake was rejuvenated a few months ago by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) with an investment of Rs 22 crore.  The acute chemical pollution due to the direct flow of sewage in the lakes is the reason behind the frothing. 

This is a roundup of important news published between September 25 - October 1, 2018. Also read policy matters this week.

 

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