By 2050, a large part of Kerala will be under the sea: V. S. Vijayan
Thiruvananthapuram: Environmentalist, wildlife expert and ornithologist V. S. Vijayan said that if we continue to exploit nature the way we do today, natural calamities like droughts, floods and landslides will become more frequent.
He was interacting with eminent novelist Sarah Joseph and writer R. Rajasree on the topic ‘Malakal Thurannatharu; Olichu Poyatharu’. The discussion was regarding the messages conveyed by the recent floods.
“Sea level is rising every year and by 2050, it will rise by over 1.5 metres. By then a large part of Kerala including Ernakulam will be underwater,” Vijayan said.
He said that the government did not pay attention to any suggestions from scientists despite enduring two consecutive and devastating floods. We are all well aware of the consequences, but the government does not seem to care, he added.
“There are only two options left to survive. One is to save the Wstern Ghats while the other is to ensure that every construction in the future is sustainable and nature friendly,” Vijayan added.
Our mindset needs to change, the scientist added. “Kerala needs only 4 lakh houses, then why are there 11 lakh unused houses in the state? How big should a house be? 1100-1200 square feet. Maximum 2500 square feet. Anything more than that is a show off and waste of resources,” Vijayan added.
Comparing the value of natural resources, Vijayan said that each hectare of wetland will give benefits of Rs 9.87 lakhs per year while each hectare of rainforest will give benefits of Rs 36 lakh per year.
“Forests in India will provide benefits worth Rs 742 lakh crore every year. That’s 45 times the country’s annual budget. Why are the governments still not interested in saving our forests?” Questioned Vijayan.
Sarah Joseph questioned if the government was ever going to pay heed to what the scientists were saying. She agreed to Vijayan that the stone and sand quarry mafia was ruling the state and its government no matter which party was in power.
Rajasree satirically said that if all else fails, people should seek the help of religion and religious leaders to press for saving the environment.
While answering questions from the audience, all the three speakers vouched that they would not seek the help of religious leaders even if their fate was sealed.
Vijayan added that the situation of each country is different and what works in Europe would not work in India. The geographical situation must be given importance, he added.