The world is facing a major pandemic, and India has not been left out either. Since the beginning of 2020, every month something or the other has been going around. Right from the Delhi pogrom, coronavirus, earthquakes, locust attacks, and the Amphan cyclone amongst others. This will continue in the coming monsoon during which the North east region, Bihar, Maharashtra and Kerala might witness floods.
Is This Natural?
Climate change is a natural phenomenon, in which there is a variation in climate over a geographical area. But due to human activities leading to climate change, this change escalated. With rapid urbanisation, the path of many streams and rivers have changed; due to construction in watershed regions, the of water is unable to penetrate the concrete ground surface and runs-off at a greater rate.
The increase in velocity of this run-off destroys small check dams, bunds, bushes and trees, which help in water penetration. Moreover, in urban areas, the lack of dedicated rainwater collection channels (rainwater pipes) and clogged sewer pipelines floods cities. The ignorance of people regarding solid waste management, especially plastic bags and bottles, stops the flow of these lines. The incapability of governments on creating awareness and cleaning the pipelines has further made the condition worse.
India’s economic condition has not been too good in the last few years. India’s pre-lockdown GDP was only 3.1% for January-March 2020, making the annual GDP of 4.2% for 2019-20 the lowest in 11 years. The GDP then was lower due to the global recession, which had impacted the Indian market for some years.
With the implementation of a lockdown due to the sudden outbreak of coronavirus, the GDP of India will not be pleasant for the country. India has lifted the lockdown and started to come back on track. However, the first month of the quarter has been lost and the country is dependent mostly on June and the next quarter. However, with the upcoming floods in a few states, the country will suffer huge losses in terms of economy, livelihood, public and private property etc. This will impact the GSDP of the affected States and the overall GDP of the country. The States will have to spend on rehabilitation of the affected people, when States are already in a difficult situation.
Preventive measures have been better than curative measures. It is important to stop the causation of floods rather than rehabilitation. Rainfall is not the sole cause of floods. The Government of India has already given a push towards water conservation, it will be better to plan those in flood-prone area. There are two parts to these steps:
1. Decreasing the run-off velocity, and creating watershed regions: This will help in penetration of water in different areas, thus, giving a rise to the water table in that place.
2. Solid waste management: This includes source segregation and creating awareness among citizens. It is important to manage solid waste, especially plastic. Once it enters the system, it chokes the sewers. If the sewers are clog-free, the run-off water will flow better in those pipelines creating flood-less cities.
Maharashtra, Bihar and Kerala have reported floods in four of the last five years, while the North east region has been reporting floods every year.