Munroe Islanders of Kerala Battle the Rising Seas
India officially handed over the ratification documents to the United Nations to join the Paris climate change agreement. This landmark agreement on climate change has come into effect soon after other countries ratified much earlier than the anticipated time period. India's ambassador to the UN, Syed Akbaruddin delivered the ratified agreement to the international body's office of legal affairs. Prime Minister Narendra Modi referenced Gandhi in his celebratory tweet.
However, the latest UN report states that the world is nowhere close to achieving the ambitious temperature goals which were adopted in the pact to reduce the global world temperature by two degrees. India is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses and the condition is deteriorating to an irreparable extent. The beautiful scenic islands of Munroe Islands in the Kollam district of Kerala is located at the confluence of Ashtamudi Lake and the Kallada River. This tiny island in the southern state of Kerala is being submerged due to the rising sea levels and erosion.
The population in the island is drastically declining and showing a stark downward trend. About 200 families have already evacuated and more are getting ready to leave. Many have abandoned their farmlands in the past six to seven years. Those who are stuck there are finding it difficult to find settlements elsewhere.
Many constructions in the island have suffered extensive damage due to the moisture of the saline water. There is a scarcity of drinking water and the residents are hardly receiving any help from the government authorities. The economy of the island has also suffered loss as the saline water has affected the paddy fields and fish farming.
According to the locals, the construction of the dam on Kollada river has obstructed the formation of delta in the region leading to destruction of the mangrove area. Several other islands situated 450km away like Tuvalu, Fiji and the Maldives are facing similar crisis but the Munroe islands are sinking at a very rapid rate compared to the other oceanic islands.
The children in Munroe also face difficulty as boats are the only mode of transport and schools have become inaccessible. The residents’ biggest worry is to find a suitable match for the men living in the island as no one wishes to send their daughters to a place which has a bleak future.
The village is an urgent need of government intervention and requires rehabilitation for more than 10,000 people. The villagers are also making demands to protect the ecosystem and slow the submergence of the island.
According to the environmentalists, a green belt of saltwater-tolerant mangroves trees is a good measure to prevent land from washing away as the roots of the mangroves hold the soil and slow down erosion.
Video Editor: Sandeep Suman