Tag Archives: Assam

India's dam building bonanza

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
India is in the midst of a massive hydro electric dam building programme, necessary, it says, to fuel the energy needs of its fast growing economy. Kieran Cooke, one of the editors of the Climate News Network, has been in India and reports on the country’s energy plans.

Assam, northeastern India, March 16 – This region, east of Bangladesh and bordering China to the north, is an area described by politicians as India’s ‘future powerhouse’ and is a key focus point of the country’s dam building programme.

The ambition of planners in New Delhi is not in doubt. So far plans for more than 160 dams – both big and small – have been announced in the northeast, the majority of them to be built in the remote, mountainous state of Arunachal Pradesh and harnessing the waters of the mighty Brahmaputra river and its tributaries.

It’s planned that in total more than 60,000 MW of electricity will be generated from the planned dams. More projects are likely to follow.

Not to be outdone, China, which borders Arunachal Pradesh, is involved in a major dam building programme on its side of the border, also using the waters of the Brahmaputra – which it calls the Yarlung Tsangpo.

Controversy

The dam building programme is highly controversial: critics say it not only ignores geological and ecological factors – it also fails to take into account the impact of climate change in the region.

The Brahmaputra, 10 kilometres wide in places, is one of the world’s major rivers, winding for nearly 3,000 kilometres from the Tibetan Plateau through China, India and Bangladesh before joining with the Ganges and flowing out into the Bay of Bengal.

It is an extremely volatile, tempestuous river system: the Brahmaputra’s waters rise dramatically during monsoon season, causing widespread flooding, erosion  and misery for many thousands of mostly subsistence farmers.

Ashwini Saikia is a farmer on the banks of the Brahmaputra river, in the small settlement of Rohomoria in northern Assam. Even now, in pre monsoon season when the river is low, there is the “plop, plop” sound of land falling into the waters.

Erosion fears

“Each year the river has eaten away more and more of my land. Then in 2010 the waters rose so much I lost my house for the fifth time in the last 15 years” says Ashwini.

Ashwini has given up farming and is now being forced to move with his family and livestock – to where he’s not entirely sure.

Dr Partha Das is an Assamese academic who has been studying the Brahmaputra for several years. He also runs Aaranyak, a locally based environmental NGO.

“The dam building programme has many question marks hanging over it including the fact that the northeast is a highly seismic region, with an earthquake in 1950 completely altering the geological structure of the Brahmaputra river basin.

Climate change impacts

“Then there is the whole question of climate change, which has scarcely been mentioned by the planners. Already we’re seeing an increase in intense rainfall events that are accelerating the high rate of soil erosion and landslides in mountainous regions. And as temperatures rise and glaciers melt on the Tibetan Plateau and in the Himalayas, river flow levels – at least in the short term – are likely to increase.”

The Indian government defends its dam building programme, saying the power generated will mean that the country will be able to wean itself off its dependence on coal for energy, most of it low quality and extremely polluting.

But many in the northeast, who have long felt cut off from the rest of India and neglected by central government, are unconvinced by New Delhi’s arguments.

There are accusations that the mostly privately backed dam building projects are money making exercises for the wealthy: most of the power produced will be exported to other parts of India and not used to build up local industries.

Tribal concerns

The northeast is a tribal area: indigenous peoples say the influx of labourers from elsewhere in India is threatening local culture. They say the dams will also lead to more deforestation – and threaten some of India’s most important wildlife habitats.

Opponents of the dam building say no proper overall plan has been put in place: though India and China recently reached agreement on sharing various river resources, there is no specific deal on managing the Brahmaputra’s waters.

Protests about the dams has been growing, with work on what is India’s biggest dam construction project to date – the 2,000MW Lower Subansiri dam on one of the Brahmaputra’s tributaries – repeatedly held up. – Climate News Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
India is in the midst of a massive hydro electric dam building programme, necessary, it says, to fuel the energy needs of its fast growing economy. Kieran Cooke, one of the editors of the Climate News Network, has been in India and reports on the country’s energy plans.

Assam, northeastern India, March 16 – This region, east of Bangladesh and bordering China to the north, is an area described by politicians as India’s ‘future powerhouse’ and is a key focus point of the country’s dam building programme.

The ambition of planners in New Delhi is not in doubt. So far plans for more than 160 dams – both big and small – have been announced in the northeast, the majority of them to be built in the remote, mountainous state of Arunachal Pradesh and harnessing the waters of the mighty Brahmaputra river and its tributaries.

It’s planned that in total more than 60,000 MW of electricity will be generated from the planned dams. More projects are likely to follow.

Not to be outdone, China, which borders Arunachal Pradesh, is involved in a major dam building programme on its side of the border, also using the waters of the Brahmaputra – which it calls the Yarlung Tsangpo.

Controversy

The dam building programme is highly controversial: critics say it not only ignores geological and ecological factors – it also fails to take into account the impact of climate change in the region.

The Brahmaputra, 10 kilometres wide in places, is one of the world’s major rivers, winding for nearly 3,000 kilometres from the Tibetan Plateau through China, India and Bangladesh before joining with the Ganges and flowing out into the Bay of Bengal.

It is an extremely volatile, tempestuous river system: the Brahmaputra’s waters rise dramatically during monsoon season, causing widespread flooding, erosion  and misery for many thousands of mostly subsistence farmers.

Ashwini Saikia is a farmer on the banks of the Brahmaputra river, in the small settlement of Rohomoria in northern Assam. Even now, in pre monsoon season when the river is low, there is the “plop, plop” sound of land falling into the waters.

Erosion fears

“Each year the river has eaten away more and more of my land. Then in 2010 the waters rose so much I lost my house for the fifth time in the last 15 years” says Ashwini.

Ashwini has given up farming and is now being forced to move with his family and livestock – to where he’s not entirely sure.

Dr Partha Das is an Assamese academic who has been studying the Brahmaputra for several years. He also runs Aaranyak, a locally based environmental NGO.

“The dam building programme has many question marks hanging over it including the fact that the northeast is a highly seismic region, with an earthquake in 1950 completely altering the geological structure of the Brahmaputra river basin.

Climate change impacts

“Then there is the whole question of climate change, which has scarcely been mentioned by the planners. Already we’re seeing an increase in intense rainfall events that are accelerating the high rate of soil erosion and landslides in mountainous regions. And as temperatures rise and glaciers melt on the Tibetan Plateau and in the Himalayas, river flow levels – at least in the short term – are likely to increase.”

The Indian government defends its dam building programme, saying the power generated will mean that the country will be able to wean itself off its dependence on coal for energy, most of it low quality and extremely polluting.

But many in the northeast, who have long felt cut off from the rest of India and neglected by central government, are unconvinced by New Delhi’s arguments.

There are accusations that the mostly privately backed dam building projects are money making exercises for the wealthy: most of the power produced will be exported to other parts of India and not used to build up local industries.

Tribal concerns

The northeast is a tribal area: indigenous peoples say the influx of labourers from elsewhere in India is threatening local culture. They say the dams will also lead to more deforestation – and threaten some of India’s most important wildlife habitats.

Opponents of the dam building say no proper overall plan has been put in place: though India and China recently reached agreement on sharing various river resources, there is no specific deal on managing the Brahmaputra’s waters.

Protests about the dams has been growing, with work on what is India’s biggest dam construction project to date – the 2,000MW Lower Subansiri dam on one of the Brahmaputra’s tributaries – repeatedly held up. – Climate News Network

India’s dam building bonanza

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE India is in the midst of a massive hydro electric dam building programme, necessary, it says, to fuel the energy needs of its fast growing economy. Kieran Cooke, one of the editors of the Climate News Network, has been in India and reports on the country’s energy plans. Assam, northeastern India, March 16 – This region, east of Bangladesh and bordering China to the north, is an area described by politicians as India’s ‘future powerhouse’ and is a key focus point of the country’s dam building programme. The ambition of planners in New Delhi is not in doubt. So far plans for more than 160 dams – both big and small – have been announced in the northeast, the majority of them to be built in the remote, mountainous state of Arunachal Pradesh and harnessing the waters of the mighty Brahmaputra river and its tributaries. It’s planned that in total more than 60,000 MW of electricity will be generated from the planned dams. More projects are likely to follow. Not to be outdone, China, which borders Arunachal Pradesh, is involved in a major dam building programme on its side of the border, also using the waters of the Brahmaputra – which it calls the Yarlung Tsangpo.

Controversy

The dam building programme is highly controversial: critics say it not only ignores geological and ecological factors – it also fails to take into account the impact of climate change in the region. The Brahmaputra, 10 kilometres wide in places, is one of the world’s major rivers, winding for nearly 3,000 kilometres from the Tibetan Plateau through China, India and Bangladesh before joining with the Ganges and flowing out into the Bay of Bengal. It is an extremely volatile, tempestuous river system: the Brahmaputra’s waters rise dramatically during monsoon season, causing widespread flooding, erosion  and misery for many thousands of mostly subsistence farmers. Ashwini Saikia is a farmer on the banks of the Brahmaputra river, in the small settlement of Rohomoria in northern Assam. Even now, in pre monsoon season when the river is low, there is the “plop, plop” sound of land falling into the waters.

Erosion fears

“Each year the river has eaten away more and more of my land. Then in 2010 the waters rose so much I lost my house for the fifth time in the last 15 years” says Ashwini. Ashwini has given up farming and is now being forced to move with his family and livestock – to where he’s not entirely sure. Dr Partha Das is an Assamese academic who has been studying the Brahmaputra for several years. He also runs Aaranyak, a locally based environmental NGO. “The dam building programme has many question marks hanging over it including the fact that the northeast is a highly seismic region, with an earthquake in 1950 completely altering the geological structure of the Brahmaputra river basin.

Climate change impacts

“Then there is the whole question of climate change, which has scarcely been mentioned by the planners. Already we’re seeing an increase in intense rainfall events that are accelerating the high rate of soil erosion and landslides in mountainous regions. And as temperatures rise and glaciers melt on the Tibetan Plateau and in the Himalayas, river flow levels – at least in the short term – are likely to increase.” The Indian government defends its dam building programme, saying the power generated will mean that the country will be able to wean itself off its dependence on coal for energy, most of it low quality and extremely polluting. But many in the northeast, who have long felt cut off from the rest of India and neglected by central government, are unconvinced by New Delhi’s arguments. There are accusations that the mostly privately backed dam building projects are money making exercises for the wealthy: most of the power produced will be exported to other parts of India and not used to build up local industries.

Tribal concerns

The northeast is a tribal area: indigenous peoples say the influx of labourers from elsewhere in India is threatening local culture. They say the dams will also lead to more deforestation – and threaten some of India’s most important wildlife habitats. Opponents of the dam building say no proper overall plan has been put in place: though India and China recently reached agreement on sharing various river resources, there is no specific deal on managing the Brahmaputra’s waters. Protests about the dams has been growing, with work on what is India’s biggest dam construction project to date – the 2,000MW Lower Subansiri dam on one of the Brahmaputra’s tributaries – repeatedly held up. – Climate News Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE India is in the midst of a massive hydro electric dam building programme, necessary, it says, to fuel the energy needs of its fast growing economy. Kieran Cooke, one of the editors of the Climate News Network, has been in India and reports on the country’s energy plans. Assam, northeastern India, March 16 – This region, east of Bangladesh and bordering China to the north, is an area described by politicians as India’s ‘future powerhouse’ and is a key focus point of the country’s dam building programme. The ambition of planners in New Delhi is not in doubt. So far plans for more than 160 dams – both big and small – have been announced in the northeast, the majority of them to be built in the remote, mountainous state of Arunachal Pradesh and harnessing the waters of the mighty Brahmaputra river and its tributaries. It’s planned that in total more than 60,000 MW of electricity will be generated from the planned dams. More projects are likely to follow. Not to be outdone, China, which borders Arunachal Pradesh, is involved in a major dam building programme on its side of the border, also using the waters of the Brahmaputra – which it calls the Yarlung Tsangpo.

Controversy

The dam building programme is highly controversial: critics say it not only ignores geological and ecological factors – it also fails to take into account the impact of climate change in the region. The Brahmaputra, 10 kilometres wide in places, is one of the world’s major rivers, winding for nearly 3,000 kilometres from the Tibetan Plateau through China, India and Bangladesh before joining with the Ganges and flowing out into the Bay of Bengal. It is an extremely volatile, tempestuous river system: the Brahmaputra’s waters rise dramatically during monsoon season, causing widespread flooding, erosion  and misery for many thousands of mostly subsistence farmers. Ashwini Saikia is a farmer on the banks of the Brahmaputra river, in the small settlement of Rohomoria in northern Assam. Even now, in pre monsoon season when the river is low, there is the “plop, plop” sound of land falling into the waters.

Erosion fears

“Each year the river has eaten away more and more of my land. Then in 2010 the waters rose so much I lost my house for the fifth time in the last 15 years” says Ashwini. Ashwini has given up farming and is now being forced to move with his family and livestock – to where he’s not entirely sure. Dr Partha Das is an Assamese academic who has been studying the Brahmaputra for several years. He also runs Aaranyak, a locally based environmental NGO. “The dam building programme has many question marks hanging over it including the fact that the northeast is a highly seismic region, with an earthquake in 1950 completely altering the geological structure of the Brahmaputra river basin.

Climate change impacts

“Then there is the whole question of climate change, which has scarcely been mentioned by the planners. Already we’re seeing an increase in intense rainfall events that are accelerating the high rate of soil erosion and landslides in mountainous regions. And as temperatures rise and glaciers melt on the Tibetan Plateau and in the Himalayas, river flow levels – at least in the short term – are likely to increase.” The Indian government defends its dam building programme, saying the power generated will mean that the country will be able to wean itself off its dependence on coal for energy, most of it low quality and extremely polluting. But many in the northeast, who have long felt cut off from the rest of India and neglected by central government, are unconvinced by New Delhi’s arguments. There are accusations that the mostly privately backed dam building projects are money making exercises for the wealthy: most of the power produced will be exported to other parts of India and not used to build up local industries.

Tribal concerns

The northeast is a tribal area: indigenous peoples say the influx of labourers from elsewhere in India is threatening local culture. They say the dams will also lead to more deforestation – and threaten some of India’s most important wildlife habitats. Opponents of the dam building say no proper overall plan has been put in place: though India and China recently reached agreement on sharing various river resources, there is no specific deal on managing the Brahmaputra’s waters. Protests about the dams has been growing, with work on what is India’s biggest dam construction project to date – the 2,000MW Lower Subansiri dam on one of the Brahmaputra’s tributaries – repeatedly held up. – Climate News Network

Assam's Women feel Climate Impacts

EMBARGOED until 0001 GMT on Saturday 12 January
Climate change bears down in different ways on distinct groups in society, and some have more to cope with than others – like women in the Indian state of Assam.

LONDON, 12 January – People in Assam, northeast India, are used to coping with extremes in the weather. When the monsoon sweeps in there are floods. When temperatures soar in late summer, there is drought. The trouble is that in recent years, the timetable of such events has gone haywire.

Assam is home to more than 31 million people, 14% of them under six years old. Described by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as part of the highly eco-sensitive and fragile eastern Himalayan region, the territory has been witnessing marked climatic changes over the past 60 years. According to official figures collated by local meteorologists, there has been a steady decline in annual rainfall in the state over the 1950-2010 period, with the trend particularly evident over the past decade. Meanwhile the mean annual temperature has risen by more than 1°C since 1950.

A new study by three organisations working in the northeast, including the Indian Network on Ethics and Climate Change,  investigates how these changes in climate are affecting the more marginalized groups in society, in particular women in rural areas.

The study, involving 900 households in six different locations around the state, found that climate change is having a serious impact on poor women in various ways: increased flooding in some areas has led to soil erosion which in turn has meant farmers have struggled to earn a living. As a result, women are forced to leave the home in search of work, often as cleaners or weavers. With no one in the home, girls have to leave school to look after younger children and do the chores.

Child marriages on the rise

Increased periods of drought in another area mean there is no fodder for cattle, and milk production, a vital income source, has declined. Farmers find it impossible to work in the intense heat that now often bakes the land. Again, women are forced to leave their homes and find wage-paying work. Such families struggle to get by; the study found the number of child marriages has increased in recent years as  “parents of impoverished families find it an easy way to provide a better future for their girl children.”

Assam is famous for its tea gardens. “The unusual rain pattern is playing havoc with the tea plantations”, says the study. Declines in tea production mean there are fewer jobs available and more people move to the towns and cities. As has happened in other parts of the world, once such a trend of urbanisation is under way, it’s hard to reverse. Some young girls from the tea gardens, says the study, are forced into the flesh trade.

Increased flooding and rising temperatures have led to a rise in disease, particularly malaria. In the tea-growing regions, more pesticides are being used to counteract crop diseases. The result is that garden workers – older ones are paid US$1.50 per day while girls earn half that amount – are noticing more skin infections.

While local authorities and the state government have taken action to limit soil erosion and tackle floods in some areas, there is an urgent need for more to be done, says the study. And with only 40% of the state’s irrigation systems functioning properly, that includes harvesting and sustaining precious water resources. A massive tree planing programme is also required. Far more attention has to be paid to poverty alleviation.

The study shows a people bewildered by what’s happening. “It rains excessively when unexpected and does not rain when it is expected”, one farmer says. – Climate News Network

EMBARGOED until 0001 GMT on Saturday 12 January
Climate change bears down in different ways on distinct groups in society, and some have more to cope with than others – like women in the Indian state of Assam.

LONDON, 12 January – People in Assam, northeast India, are used to coping with extremes in the weather. When the monsoon sweeps in there are floods. When temperatures soar in late summer, there is drought. The trouble is that in recent years, the timetable of such events has gone haywire.

Assam is home to more than 31 million people, 14% of them under six years old. Described by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as part of the highly eco-sensitive and fragile eastern Himalayan region, the territory has been witnessing marked climatic changes over the past 60 years. According to official figures collated by local meteorologists, there has been a steady decline in annual rainfall in the state over the 1950-2010 period, with the trend particularly evident over the past decade. Meanwhile the mean annual temperature has risen by more than 1°C since 1950.

A new study by three organisations working in the northeast, including the Indian Network on Ethics and Climate Change,  investigates how these changes in climate are affecting the more marginalized groups in society, in particular women in rural areas.

The study, involving 900 households in six different locations around the state, found that climate change is having a serious impact on poor women in various ways: increased flooding in some areas has led to soil erosion which in turn has meant farmers have struggled to earn a living. As a result, women are forced to leave the home in search of work, often as cleaners or weavers. With no one in the home, girls have to leave school to look after younger children and do the chores.

Child marriages on the rise

Increased periods of drought in another area mean there is no fodder for cattle, and milk production, a vital income source, has declined. Farmers find it impossible to work in the intense heat that now often bakes the land. Again, women are forced to leave their homes and find wage-paying work. Such families struggle to get by; the study found the number of child marriages has increased in recent years as  “parents of impoverished families find it an easy way to provide a better future for their girl children.”

Assam is famous for its tea gardens. “The unusual rain pattern is playing havoc with the tea plantations”, says the study. Declines in tea production mean there are fewer jobs available and more people move to the towns and cities. As has happened in other parts of the world, once such a trend of urbanisation is under way, it’s hard to reverse. Some young girls from the tea gardens, says the study, are forced into the flesh trade.

Increased flooding and rising temperatures have led to a rise in disease, particularly malaria. In the tea-growing regions, more pesticides are being used to counteract crop diseases. The result is that garden workers – older ones are paid US$1.50 per day while girls earn half that amount – are noticing more skin infections.

While local authorities and the state government have taken action to limit soil erosion and tackle floods in some areas, there is an urgent need for more to be done, says the study. And with only 40% of the state’s irrigation systems functioning properly, that includes harvesting and sustaining precious water resources. A massive tree planing programme is also required. Far more attention has to be paid to poverty alleviation.

The study shows a people bewildered by what’s happening. “It rains excessively when unexpected and does not rain when it is expected”, one farmer says. – Climate News Network

Assam’s Women feel Climate Impacts

EMBARGOED until 0001 GMT on Saturday 12 January Climate change bears down in different ways on distinct groups in society, and some have more to cope with than others – like women in the Indian state of Assam. LONDON, 12 January – People in Assam, northeast India, are used to coping with extremes in the weather. When the monsoon sweeps in there are floods. When temperatures soar in late summer, there is drought. The trouble is that in recent years, the timetable of such events has gone haywire. Assam is home to more than 31 million people, 14% of them under six years old. Described by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as part of the highly eco-sensitive and fragile eastern Himalayan region, the territory has been witnessing marked climatic changes over the past 60 years. According to official figures collated by local meteorologists, there has been a steady decline in annual rainfall in the state over the 1950-2010 period, with the trend particularly evident over the past decade. Meanwhile the mean annual temperature has risen by more than 1°C since 1950. A new study by three organisations working in the northeast, including the Indian Network on Ethics and Climate Change,  investigates how these changes in climate are affecting the more marginalized groups in society, in particular women in rural areas. The study, involving 900 households in six different locations around the state, found that climate change is having a serious impact on poor women in various ways: increased flooding in some areas has led to soil erosion which in turn has meant farmers have struggled to earn a living. As a result, women are forced to leave the home in search of work, often as cleaners or weavers. With no one in the home, girls have to leave school to look after younger children and do the chores.

Child marriages on the rise

Increased periods of drought in another area mean there is no fodder for cattle, and milk production, a vital income source, has declined. Farmers find it impossible to work in the intense heat that now often bakes the land. Again, women are forced to leave their homes and find wage-paying work. Such families struggle to get by; the study found the number of child marriages has increased in recent years as  “parents of impoverished families find it an easy way to provide a better future for their girl children.” Assam is famous for its tea gardens. “The unusual rain pattern is playing havoc with the tea plantations”, says the study. Declines in tea production mean there are fewer jobs available and more people move to the towns and cities. As has happened in other parts of the world, once such a trend of urbanisation is under way, it’s hard to reverse. Some young girls from the tea gardens, says the study, are forced into the flesh trade. Increased flooding and rising temperatures have led to a rise in disease, particularly malaria. In the tea-growing regions, more pesticides are being used to counteract crop diseases. The result is that garden workers – older ones are paid US$1.50 per day while girls earn half that amount – are noticing more skin infections. While local authorities and the state government have taken action to limit soil erosion and tackle floods in some areas, there is an urgent need for more to be done, says the study. And with only 40% of the state’s irrigation systems functioning properly, that includes harvesting and sustaining precious water resources. A massive tree planing programme is also required. Far more attention has to be paid to poverty alleviation. The study shows a people bewildered by what’s happening. “It rains excessively when unexpected and does not rain when it is expected”, one farmer says. – Climate News Network

EMBARGOED until 0001 GMT on Saturday 12 January Climate change bears down in different ways on distinct groups in society, and some have more to cope with than others – like women in the Indian state of Assam. LONDON, 12 January – People in Assam, northeast India, are used to coping with extremes in the weather. When the monsoon sweeps in there are floods. When temperatures soar in late summer, there is drought. The trouble is that in recent years, the timetable of such events has gone haywire. Assam is home to more than 31 million people, 14% of them under six years old. Described by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as part of the highly eco-sensitive and fragile eastern Himalayan region, the territory has been witnessing marked climatic changes over the past 60 years. According to official figures collated by local meteorologists, there has been a steady decline in annual rainfall in the state over the 1950-2010 period, with the trend particularly evident over the past decade. Meanwhile the mean annual temperature has risen by more than 1°C since 1950. A new study by three organisations working in the northeast, including the Indian Network on Ethics and Climate Change,  investigates how these changes in climate are affecting the more marginalized groups in society, in particular women in rural areas. The study, involving 900 households in six different locations around the state, found that climate change is having a serious impact on poor women in various ways: increased flooding in some areas has led to soil erosion which in turn has meant farmers have struggled to earn a living. As a result, women are forced to leave the home in search of work, often as cleaners or weavers. With no one in the home, girls have to leave school to look after younger children and do the chores.

Child marriages on the rise

Increased periods of drought in another area mean there is no fodder for cattle, and milk production, a vital income source, has declined. Farmers find it impossible to work in the intense heat that now often bakes the land. Again, women are forced to leave their homes and find wage-paying work. Such families struggle to get by; the study found the number of child marriages has increased in recent years as  “parents of impoverished families find it an easy way to provide a better future for their girl children.” Assam is famous for its tea gardens. “The unusual rain pattern is playing havoc with the tea plantations”, says the study. Declines in tea production mean there are fewer jobs available and more people move to the towns and cities. As has happened in other parts of the world, once such a trend of urbanisation is under way, it’s hard to reverse. Some young girls from the tea gardens, says the study, are forced into the flesh trade. Increased flooding and rising temperatures have led to a rise in disease, particularly malaria. In the tea-growing regions, more pesticides are being used to counteract crop diseases. The result is that garden workers – older ones are paid US$1.50 per day while girls earn half that amount – are noticing more skin infections. While local authorities and the state government have taken action to limit soil erosion and tackle floods in some areas, there is an urgent need for more to be done, says the study. And with only 40% of the state’s irrigation systems functioning properly, that includes harvesting and sustaining precious water resources. A massive tree planing programme is also required. Far more attention has to be paid to poverty alleviation. The study shows a people bewildered by what’s happening. “It rains excessively when unexpected and does not rain when it is expected”, one farmer says. – Climate News Network