The Hindu: The Conservation of Sunderbans
The important topics of Environment and Ecology are very important for IAS Exam and the IAS aspirants should not ignore such topics during IAS preparation. In the last few years, a number of questions associated with environment and ecology have been asked in every stage of IAS Exam. Here, we have provided an elaborated article on conservation of Suderban Delta based on the editorial published in The Hindu, one of the most trusted study resources of current affairs for IAS Exam.
The Sundarban is a vast forest located in the coastal region of the Bay of Bengal also considered as one of the natural wonders of the world. The Sunderban delta is formed by the major three river basins of the region- the Padma, Meghna and Brahmaputra which extend across Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Patuakhali and Barguna districts of Bangladesh. The Sunderbans is the largest among forested forest in the world and the largest mangrove forest in the coastal environment.
Sunderbans has a population of 6,017 sq km in 10,000 square kilometers, is in Bangladesh. In 1997, UNESCO had recognised Sundarban as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Bangladesh and Indian part of it is, in fact, an adjacent part of the uninterrupted landmark, but the list of UNESCO World Heritage List has been listed differently; In the name of "Sunderbans" and "Sunderban National Park" respectively.
The Sunderbans are trapped in the net, with small streams of marine streams, mud shores and mangrove forests, small-scale archipelago. 31.1 percent of the total forest area, which is 1,874 sq km, consists of the riverbed, inlet, bill, and water. The Sunderban forest is known for its self-contained Royal Bengal Tiger, as well as numerous species of animals, including Chital Deer, Crocodile and Snakes. According to the survey, 500 tigers and 30,000 chital deer are now in the Sunderban area. On 21 May 1992, Sunderban was recognised as a Ramsar Site.
What makes Conservation of Indian Sundarban vital?
- Fresh evidence of loss of forest covers in the Indian Sunderbans, the third largest contiguous mangrove ecosystem in the world, needs an immediate effort to preserve on a primary basis.
- The loss of highly productive mangroves of the Indian Sunderbans can be witnessed from the colonial era when the forested parts of it were cleared for the cultivation purpose.
One of the studies conducted by the Jadavpur University pointed out that climate change has been a major threat to the entire population within 10,000 sq km area that also
- straddles Bangladesh towards the east and sustains millions of people with food, water and forest products.
- The unique population of tigers in the region compelled to adapt and move across the land-sea interface which is a big concern for the diversity in the region.
- The loss of ecology in the region due to setting up of dams and other barrages which amount to shrink and sediment of the islands cannot be compensated by these short-term benefits.
- Sunderbans as a confluence zone of fresh water brought by the big Himalayan Rivers and high concentrated salinity, these islands are a crucible of biodiversity of 4.5 million that live on the Indian side need a great care and help.
- The Government should consider the suggestions for fortification against erosion on the lines of the dikes in the Netherlands merit scientific evaluation and strengthen them with endemic plant and tree species that can thrive in changing salinity conditions that simultaneously benefits the local population as well.
The conservation of the Sunderbans delta region needs an immediate effort from the state as it provides rich natural resources and diversity in the region. However, the regions of the Sunderbans are legally protected, but the future of the region will largely depend upon the local actions that will protect the banks from erosion.
The state should emphasise on the policies that can address the pressures created on natural resources due to insufficient human development in the region, which is a major threat to maintaining the diversity in the region. Apart from the local action and policies, the state should promote ecotourism in the region that can hold the potential to raise awareness and funds.
The region needs collective efforts from India and Bangladesh and both the countries should seek international climate finance for the conservation of Sunderbans and its unique identity on a global level.
The population in the region living in poverty and hence puts pressure on its natural resources, so, it is vital that local communities should be pulled out of poverty on a primary basis. The region also needs attention from the climatic research scientists and social scientists that have a synergistic role in giving the Sunderbans a greater chance of survival.