India’s Lands Are Turning Into Deserts – And There’s No Going Back
More than a quarter of India’s land is turning to desert and the rate of degradation of agricultural areas is increasing, according to new analysis of satellite images.
A report from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) says land degradation —broadly defined as loss of productivity — is estimated at 96 million hectares, or nearly 30 percent of Indian land.
S Janakarajan, chairman of the South Asia Consortium for Inter-disciplinary Water Resources Studies, highlights the situation.
Analysis of satellite mapping shows new areas in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir and eastern Indian states like Odisha and Jharkhand turning arid, with nine states together accounting for nearly 24 percent of desertification.
In states like Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat and Goa, more than 50 percent of land is under desertification.
The ongoing study, initiated by the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, was led by the Indian Space Research Organisation and involved 19 other institutes.
It analysed satellite images over an eight-year period to compile the atlas.
(Published in arrangement with Reuters.)