Major environment event in the offing

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IMPHAL, April 4: A major environmental event may occur in the state at the rate climate levels are increasing in recent times, according to local officials charged with the state of environment in the state.

Imphal city clogged by Diesel autos emitting hazardous carbon monoxide amidst health concerns among citizens

Talking to IFP Research Officer of the Environment Directorate Tourangbam Brajakumar said, “If the present trend of environmental degradation goes unchecked an ‘Environment Event’ may be predicted which would greatly affect the hill districts of the state first and cause outbreak of many diseases.

Elaborating on the state of environment in Manipur Dr Brajakumar mentioned some of the environmental concerns like significant rise in the volume of vehicles in Imphal city, mismanagement of solid waste, the rise in temperature levels of 1.5 degree Celsius in a decade.

He said, the pollution level of the state is the highest among the north east states of India.

Dr Brajakumar said, “The unprecedented rise of transport vehicles including diesel autos leave carbon footprints, dangerous particles are emitted in the air and Manipur has the most polluted air quality in the north east.”

He added that suspended particles which should be at the average of 40 have increased to 200. Such an increase affects the respiratory organs and Imphalites have a risk of contracting respiratory diseases more than their northeastern counterparts.

The temperature is taken at the aggregate of the highest level and the lowest level in the mercury scale, the high temperature may vary but a ratio has to be there with the lower.

In the case of the state, Brajakumar mentioned that according to meteorological records, the increase in temperature is at 1.5 degrees in a decade whereas the lower scale has a minimum of 1.8 degrees.

The government researcher said, “The ratio of the maximum and minimum are different in the state now. This is a major problem we have to face and may be termed as an abnormality.”

He stated that if the environmental anomaly persists the state may face an “environmental event”.

The event will affect the rainfall of the state and a constant humidity at about 18 to 22 degree Celsius will occur, which is the perfect condition for mosquitoes to breed and they could be a menace perennially.

Further, the rainfall will escalate to about a 100mm per day (about 36,000mm in a year), presently we have a rate of 2000mm rainfall in the state, but if it increases, there would be frequent mudslides in the hill areas, resulting in loss of lives and displacement of villagers.

He said that in the aftermath, there would be an outbreak of diseases also.

Mentioning that the public needs to change their lifestyles and have a more environmental protective mindset, he stated that along with the government departments counter measures to check pollution, the public must also aid in the process to mend the loopholes affecting the environment.

The forest cover of the state has declined by 896 sq kms from 2007 to 2009, according to the Forest Survey of India. One of the main causes is the indiscriminate felling of trees.

The research officer further stated that along with the decline in forest cover, the water bodies which were recorded to be numbering around 155 according to records of 1974, there has also been a dramatic loss of water bodies.

“Now, there are hardly 19/20 water bodies inclusive of the Loktak Lake”, he added.

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