Tamil Nadu: Cauvery Maha Pushkaram to be celebrated from today on banks of river Cauvery

Cauvery Maha Pushkaram will be celebrated from 12 September 2017 on the banks of river Cauvery in Tamil Nadu. The celebration will come to an end on 24 September 2017.

Thousands of pilgrims are expected to throng the bathing Ghats at Trichy Srirangam and Myladuturai in Nagai daily. District administrations have made all arrangements for the smooth conduct of the festival.

“River Cauvery is the lifeline for delta districts of Tamil Nadu including the rice bowl Thanjavur. No wonder Cauvery is called as Annai Mother Cauvery and worshiped by thousands of people. Cauvery Maha Pushkaram is celebrated from today and is considered auspicious as the configuration of stars happens only once in 144 years

Sunderbans mangrove depleting alarmingly: Study

Data obtained from latest study conducted using remote sensing and GIS for the first time has offered definite proof that the mangrove forest cover in Indian Sunderbans has been depleting alarmingly.

From 1986 to 2012, 124.418 sq km or about 5.5% of the mangrove cover of Sunderbans was lost.

Moreover, variable degrees of erosion were also observed in at least 18 islands.

The continuation of this process is a serious ecological threat.

Key Facts Total forest cover of the Indian Sunderbans as assessed by remote sensing studies for the year 1986 was about 2,246.839 sq km.

It has gradually declined by 2,201.41 sq. km. in 1996, then down to 2168.914 sq km in 2001 and to 2122.421 sq km in 2012.

The loss in the mangrove forest in the Indian Sunderbans is about 5.5 %.

The continuation of this process in response to climate change and sea level rise poses a serious threat to the carbon sequestration potential and other ecosystem services of this mangrove forest in future.

The study also highlights a time series of the erosion of at least 18 mangrove forested islands of the Indian Sunderbans from 1986 to 2012.

These islands include Sagar, Gosaba, Dulibhasani, Dalhousie, Bhangaduni and Jambudwip.

The mean sea level rise is considered a driving factor for coastal erosion, coastal flooding, increase in the number of tidal creeks and losing land.

The loss land, including mangrove forest is mainly due to decrease in fresh water flow and sediment supply in the western (Indian) part of the delta, and the rate of sea level rise is higher than sediment supply.

However, the eastern (Bangladesh) side of the Sunderbans delta is gaining land because of the huge amount of sediment and water flow from the Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers.

Critical minimal inflow of freshwater is necessary for the luxuriant growth of mangroves.

Decrease in freshwater inflow results change in mangrove succession where freshwater loving species of mangroves are replaced by salt-water loving ones.

This immediate impact of salinity will also have negative impact on the fishing community, as commercially sought fish species will be replaced by fish that does not have as much market value.

About Sundarbans Sundarbans is a vast mangrove forest in the coastal region of the Bay of Bengal.

It covers approximately 10,000 square kilometres of area of which 60% is in Bangladesh with the remainder in India.

It is located in the delta region of Padma, Meghna and Brahmaputra river basins. It is the largest tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world.

In 1997, Sundarban was recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Sundarban forests are known for its self- Royal Bengal Tiger and other numerous species of animals, including Chital Deer, Crocodile and Snakes.

In May 1992, it was recognized as a Ramsar Site.

ne 17: World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed every year on June 17 to promote public awareness to combat desertification.

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had designated June 17 as the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought in 1994. It was observed for the first time in 1995.

The day is observed globally to promote public awareness on the issue, and the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in those countries experiencing serious desertification or drought, particularly in Africa.

This year’s theme for World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is “Our Land. Our Home. Our Future“.

This edition will examine the link between land degradation and migration. Among others, Poverty, political instability, deforestation, overgrazing and bad irrigation practices are responsible for desertification.

They have increased the number of international migrants worldwide who have increased from 173 million in 2000 to 244 million in 2015.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development especially the Goal 15 emphasises the need to halt and reverse land degradation.

Desertification Desertification refers to degradation of land in arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid areas due to an array of factors.

The direct impact of desertification is reduced biodiversity. The reasons are many such as climatic changes such as drought, or human such as overgrazing.

Desertification is a major economic, social and environmental problem of concern to many countries in all regions of the world. In 1977, the United Nations Conference on Desertification (UNCOD) adopted a Plan of Action to Combat Desertification (PACD).

On 17 June 1994, on the basis of the direct recommendation of Agenda 21, “United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa” was adopted in Paris.

The permanent Secretariat of the UNCCD was established during the first Conference of the Parties (COP 1) held in Rome in 1997. It has been located in Bonn, Germany since January 1999.