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Dust storm halts civil construction activities in Delhi

Signal of change / Dust storm halts civil construction activities in Delhi

By Pallavi Ahuja / 25 Jun 2018

The summer of 2018 in Delhi, Rajasthan and other parts of Western and Northern India kicked off with a series of dust storms leading to levels of air pollution rated beyond the 'severe' mark on the Central Pollution Control Board's scale. In the National Capital Region (NCR), emergency action under the Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) has included an order to stop all civil construction activities.

It is likely that the desertification of the world’s oldest mountain chain, Aravallis, is one of the major causes. Deforestation and developmental activities in the region have destroyed the once dense forests covering most of the mountain range.

So what?

This event is a lesson for long-term action required to tackle desertification and erosion of green cover.   According to the State of India’s Environment 2017 Report, nearly 30 per cent of India is degraded or facing desertification. Of India's total geographical area of 328.72 million hectares (MHA), 96.4 MHA is under desertification. Loss of soil cover, mainly due to rainfall and surface runoff is responsible for 10.98 per cent of desertification in the country.   With increased desertification, enormous soil erosion, inappropriate agricultural practices, and a rise in global temperature, dust storm events are becoming more intense and frequent. Studies have shown that heavy dust events are associated with an increased risk of inflammatory responses in the airways and hospitalizations for breathing issues like asthma.


What might the implications of this be? What related signals of change have you seen?

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