Mankind’s irresponsibility or nature’s fury?

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These are unusual and unprecedented at least in the context of Manipur. Hailstones which weighed more than half a Kilogram hit many parts of the State, particularly the southern districts of Chandel and Churachandpur. Although no severe human casualty has been reported, the damages done to dwelling houses, standing crops and other properties are massive as well as extensive. The hailstones do not come alone. They come with magnificent volumes of pre-monsoon rains and ferocious squalls, another phenomenon which is not quite usual. The dark and over-shadowed sky is often illuminated by dazzling streaks of lightning which have already inflicted varying degrees of injuries to a dozen of people. A few weeks ago, precisely in the night of April 13, the entire State was shaken by a terrifying earthquake which had its epicentre in neighbouring Myanmar. These natural phenomena of earthquakes, windstorms, hailstones and torrential rains may or may not be connected but they came in close sequence. Here we cannot help asking whether they are purely natural phenomena which have nothing to do with human activities. We know that earthquakes, windstorms, hailstones, torrential rains, floods and for that matter droughts have their own causal factors which may or may not be inter-related. Now Manipur is experiencing unusual climatic changes and unexpected weather conditions. Thorough research works and studies are the need of the hour. No major disaster has been experienced so far. Yet no one can rule out the possibility of a catastrophic natural disaster given Manipur’s location in a highly active seismic zone. As such there must be a level of preparedness on the part of the citizens as well as the Government. Having said this, we have no intention to sound too apocalyptic or even unduly pessimistic.
Nonetheless, we cannot simply stand and look on when nature’s ferocious forces unleash their wrath over mankind. Since ages, human ingenuity had succeeded in overcoming many a great number of natural disasters. What if mankind and his myriad activities are contributing to the outburst of nature’s fury in the form of earthquakes, volcanoes, cyclones, floods, droughts, etc? If we are contributing to these so-called natural phenomena knowingly or unknowingly, we cannot simply blame nature for all the negative impacts. As much as one believes in mankind’s ingenuity, one should not do anything which may disturb the nature’s delicate balance. It must be accepted that mankind’s greed, not needs, had led to over-exploitation of earth beyond redemption. Who will account for the disappearance of 16 million hectares of forests from the surface of earth every year? It is mankind, not any other species, which are responsible for this disastrous exploitation of nature. One must take due note that in spite of the ever rising temperature, the imminent threats of melting Arctic glaciers and subsequent rise of sea levels, all the international environmental summits including the latest one could not come up with any effective mechanism to counter environmental degradation. Natural phenomena like earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, droughts, cyclones, storms etc may not be completely avoidable but we can certainly reduce their incidences and mitigate their impacts. For this, mankind should have thorough knowledge of nature’s working principle and act responsibly. When we are utterly irresponsible, we cannot simply blame nature for any of the natural disasters.

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