Showing posts with label Environment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Environment. Show all posts

July 05, 2019

Resilience, diversity in focus as Bhubaneswar tries to restore trees lost to Fani

Photograph: Citizen Matters/ Basudev Mahapatra

One morning, nearly a month after Cyclone Fani struck Odisha, Ashok Baral, a citizen of Bhubaneswar, came upon a fallen trunk of a banyan tree near the Stewart School boundary wall. The tree had been uprooted by the cyclonic storm Fani, which hit the city on May 3, 2019. Recalling that particular moment, Ashok says, “Though it was my regular route home from the milk vendor, it seemed as if the helpless trunk of the tree was trying to tell me something on this particular day. I stayed there, looked at the trunk for some time, and wrote a message to the forest and environment secretary immediately after I came back, on behalf of the tree, requesting him to restore it at the place where it existed before.”

June 17, 2019

Restoration of Ansupa Lake brightens wetland conservation hopes


Photograph: Mongabay India/ Basudev Mahapatra


Ansupa Lake was a wasteland three years ago and of no use to the fishing community living in the vicinity.

The oxbow lake formed by the Mahanadi was covered in over 20 types of freshwater weeds, which proved detrimental to the ecosystem.

The Chilika Development Authority, which took charge of developing the lake, formed The Ansupa Integrated Self Help Group, which manages lake activities.

With the help of a mechanical weed harvester, the lake is now cleared. Fishing is regulated and income from tourism goes back to the community.


June 05, 2019

Can Bhubaneswar’s smart city infrastructure withstand summer heat stress?


Cyclone Fani in early May was one more reminder for Bhubaneswar of its vulnerability to extreme weather events, and the massive damage to urban infrastructure that such events could bring about, even in an upcoming ‘smart’ city.

Fani left Bhubaneswar in shambles in its trail, with uprooted trees all around falling on roads and buildings, disrupting major services like supply of water and electricity as well as Internet connectivity. Life in the city remained miserable for weeks. Last year too, life in the city had been severely disrupted, as it almost went under water following unusually heavy rainfall of nearly 200 mm in a day.

May 25, 2019

Mandasaru: Biodiversity takes centre stage in Odisha’s silent valley

Photograph: VillageSquare/ Basudev Mahapatra

Forest communities of Mandasaru hills are taking steps to conserve biodiversity in Odisha’s silent valley, even as the world celebrates International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May

April 15, 2019

As summer arrives, Urban Odisha gets scared about water

With a projected population nearing 9.40 lakhs, as per India Population 2019, Bhubaneswar has the reputation of being the hottest city of the country. With the monsoon trend delaying by almost one month, the worry for the urban dwellers of the state is the possible water scarcity they have to face soon as they have been facing for many years

March 15, 2019

Community interventions reverse desertification trend in Odisha’s Balangir


Byasadev Bhoi, 58, of Pandel village of Odisha’s in Balangir district was very excited while showing the pond the villagers have dug. The pond has changed their lives by ensuring water to irrigate about 150 acres of agricultural land even during dry seasons between the months of January and May. Byasadev is happy that the young members of his family don’t need to migrate to other states in search of jobs anymore as they are now able to grow more than two crops in their fields.

Balangir district being chronically drought-prone, this was not the life villagers of Pandel lived before. 

February 27, 2019

Fishing communities of Odisha protect the endangered olive ridley sea turtle

Fishing communities in eastern India are setting an example by protecting endangered olive ridley marine turtles during their annual mating and nesting activities, and helping millions of tiny hatchlings reach the sea safely.

Villagers of Gokharkuda help hatchlings reach the sea safely © Basudev Mahapatra

November 22, 2018

How an Odisha Village Saved its Forest From an Upcoming Brewery


Photo: Basidev Mahapatra
The village of Balarampur, barely 20 KM from its district headquarters town of Dhenkanal and 80 KM from Odisha’s capital city of Bhubaneswar, has scripted a success story while adopting the methods of the famous Chipko movement to save trees from the vagaries of an allegedly ill planned alcohol plant and bureaucratic insensitivities towards the green.

Led by the women folks of the village, it brought wisdom and forced the Odisha government to order for relocation of the project respecting the voice of people, making the case first of its kind in Odisha during the Naveen Patnaik regime.

October 18, 2018

Cyclones buffet Odisha as temperatures rise


The rise in temperatures due to climate change has increased the vulnerability of Odisha on the east coast of India to intense cyclonic storms

Cyclone Titli made landfall on October 11, 2018,
and caused extensive damage in coastal areas of
Odisha and Andhra Pradesh
The southern coast of Odisha, with the small port town of Gopalpur at its centre, seems to have become a favoured destination for tropical cyclones occurring in the months of October-November in the Bay of Bengal. This year, coastal districts of Odisha and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh on the east coast around Gopalpur faced two intense tropical cyclones — Daye in September and Titli in October.

Gopalpur has been facing a constant threat of post-monsoon tropical cyclones since at least 1999 when it was badly hit by a devastating tropical cyclone 10 days before the super cyclone of 1999. The later one hit near Odisha’s port town of Paradeep in the early hours of October 29 ravaged large parts of coastal areas, leading to at least 10,000 deaths.

July 26, 2018

Act now to spur urban climate resilience

Like most cities in India, Bhubaneswar is being driven to its knees due to extreme rainfall and intolerable temperatures, underscoring the urgent need for climate-smart urban planning 


After intense overnight showers, Bhubaneswar woke up on Saturday, July 21, morning with half the city under water. The situation at the capital of the eastern state of Odisha in many ways typifies poor urban management in India that is crumbling under adverse climatic conditions.

Residents in many parts of the city were stranded in their homes and the condition was so dire in some parts that the state’s disaster response team has to start rescue operations. Roads in the state capital looked like gushing streams. Disaster response forces moved to waterlogged areas with floating pumps to drain out water.

July 11, 2018

Community protection holds hope for climate change affected Similipal sanctuary

Impacted by climate change and human activity, hope for the Similipal biosphere reserve in the eastern state of Odisha has come from protection offered by area residents. 

 Standing in the backyard garden of his thatched house near the core area of the Similipal national park, Shyam Ho (50) of Kusumi village recalled his childhood when the forest around his village was thick and the primary source of food for his tribal community.

“We used to get everything, from tubers to leafy vegetables and a variety of fruits and berries, in the forest. Honey was abundant available in the hedges, the mud walls of our houses, and in the nearby forest. They all have become rare these days,” Shyam Ho said. “Today, we have to buy honey from collectors whenever we need it even for medicinal use. We don’t see so many varieties of honeybees around our villages these days.”

May 30, 2018

Enterprising Odisha women take to selling fish to improve lives

Women in Odisha’s coastal fishing villages have turned to selling fish and value-added fishery products after eliminating middlemen and abolishing the home brewing of country liquor, the root cause of their problems.

Selling fish at the local fish market, Dulana Das (40) of Rambha village in Odisha’s Ganjam district took pride in introducing herself as a businesswoman instead of a fisherwoman. “I buy fish every morning from fishermen who fish in Chilika Lake and the nearby sea,” Dulana told VillageSquare.in.“With a designated place for me in the market, and a 20% profit, I earn a good income.” 

January 10, 2018

Traditional tribal farming shows way to climate-smart agriculture

The practice of planting a wide variety of crops by Odisha’s Dongria Kondh tribe could hold the key to strengthen climate-smart agriculture in a state that has been buffeted by recurrent droughts and erratic rainfall.

December 29, 2017

As climate change alters agriculture, forest food could be the answer. Odisha's indigenous Kondhs prove it

India's indigenous Kondh community has relied on forest food for millennia. As climate change reduces agricultural yields, this source of nutrition could be crucial for food security. 


As agriculture and climate change are victims and causes of each other, with effects such as drought affecting land productivity, reaching the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals which include achieving global food security and ending hunger by 2030 has become even more challenging.

In view of this, forests can play a crucial role as the basis of a sustainable food system – as has been the norm in the Kondh community, an indigenous group spread across the forests and hilly regions of the south of India’s Odisha state, for millennia.

December 15, 2017

Forest food ensures nutritional security of Odisha’s tribes

Access to naturally grown forest produce would go a long way in protecting tribal communities in Odisha from the worst impacts of climate change and supply them with all that they need for sustenance

Sunamai Mambalaka, a Kondh tribal woman in her 50s, is not bothered about the vulnerability of cultivated crops to climate change. She believes that she and her community will never experience hunger as long as the forest, their perennial source of food, exists. “I was born in the forest, I grew with the forest. Forest is our life and soul,” she said.

July 19, 2017

Tribal women of Sundargarh make organic farming a life-changing economic activity

Tribal communities in Sundargarh district of Odisha have revived the traditional practice of growing food without the help of chemical fertilizers and made it viable economically by making pragmatic changes.

Nirmala Barla (40), a passionate farmer of Sundargarh district’s Brahmanamara village, is a proud woman because she feeds her family with a variety of safely grown food, and not just cereals grown by using lots of chemical fertilizers that are available in the market. In her 14 acres of land, both upland and relatively plain, she grows rice, millet and vegetables without using any inorganic fertilizer. After meeting consumption needs of the family, she is also able to earn a bit by selling the surplus farm produce.

June 02, 2017

Air pollution in India, a threat to human lives bigger than terrorism

Air pollution in India kills more people than terrorism every year. Yet there is no international war against pollution as there is against terrorism
Terrorism has drawn global attention and most countries have joined the effort to contrast it. But the international community is yet to wage a war against air pollution despite the enormity of the hazard it poses for global health. In India, for example, terrorism has taken 65,900 human lives between 1994 and 2017, which is almost half of deaths caused by air pollution in a single year.

April 09, 2017

Conserving rainwater in subsurface soil to fight water scarcity

Indigenous communities in India's Rayagada district mitigate the challenges of water scarcity by storing rainwater in subsurface soil. A cheap and concrete solution to a global problem.  

With a population of over 1.2 billion people, India’s per capita water availability has decreased substantially over the years. From 5,200 cubic metres (m3) in 1951 to 1,588 m3 in 2010 according to the Water Resources Information System (WRIS). This may shrink further to 1,401 m3 and 1,191 mby 2025 and 2050 respectively. To note is that the average volume isn’t available everywhere because of temporal and spatial variations in rainfall.

January 27, 2017

Living close to major roads may increase risk of dementia

People living near major roads and busy traffic are more at risk of developing dementia, according to a report analysing over 6 million people
Emerging evidence suggests that living near major roads and busy traffic might adversely affect cognition and increases the risk of developing dementia, according to the findings of a study published in UK medical journal The Lancet.

The research aimed to investigate the association between residential proximity to major roadways and the incidence of three neurological diseases: dementia, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis. 

January 20, 2017

Ocean warming will kill fish, make them smaller and potentially toxic

No matter how near or far you live from the coast, you'll be affected by it: ocean warming may become one of the biggest threats to ecosystems and food security. 
Ocean warming, driven by increasing carbon emissions and rising temperatures, may become one of the biggest challenges facing humanity and threatening the Earth’s life systems, affecting even those living far from oceanic coasts. Already impacting people, fish stocks and crop yields, it may lead to more extreme weather events and increased risk from water-borne diseases including cholera. Fuelling global warming, it would put the livelihood of agrarian and fishing communities in the Indian and Pacific Ocean regions at stake, cautions the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in a report.