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Flash flood, waterlogging to worsen

By SIVASISH THAKUR
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GUWAHATI, Jan 19 � According to a three-year extensive study conducted by the environmental group ENVIRON, the problem of flash flood and waterlogging in Guwahati is going to worsen manifold, and by the next ten years many areas of the city will reel under eight-feet-deep water during the rainy season, rendering those areas unlivable.

ENVIRON conducted the investigation (from 2011 to 2013) at some specified locations of Hatigaon, Panjabari, Ganeshguri, Christianbasti, Bhangagarh, Paltan Bazar, Ambari, Silpukhuri, Chandmari and in AIDC of RGB Road.

Dr Amarjyoti Kashyap, president of ENVIRON and a solid waste management consultant, says that the height of the water level has been increasing by 3 to 6 inches every year in most of the affected areas, which is an alarming trend.

�If this situation continues, after 10 years the average height of the water level will increase up to 30 to 60 inches than the present level. In such a situation, the height of the water level in RGB road (Zoo-Narengi Tiniali, AIDC) will be around eight feet; in Maniram Dewan Road (Ambari, Silpukhuri and Chandmari) it will be around 7 feet; and in GS Road (Christanbasti, Bhangagarh), it will be around 6.5 feet. Consequently, all the by-lanes and most of the households will undergo substantial inundation,� Kashyap says.

The study which took into account the problem of clogging of drains in the city found that out of 639.032 km of city drains, 302.57 km remains clogged during the rainy season. The amount of plastic removed from the clogged drains is 1.37 tons a day.

It has also been observed that some 40 sq.km. area comprising wetlands in Guwahati has been severely affected by dumping of solid waste. Reckless dumping of solid waste into the low-lying areas including wetlands such as Deepor Beel, Narengi Beel, Silsako Beel, Borsola Beel and Sarusola Beel has turned the water bodies into wastelands, drastically reducing their water-carrying capacity.

Currently all the municipal solid waste generated in the city (around 300 metric tons a day) is collectively dumping over the low-lying areas of West Boragaon which is also a part of Deepor Beel, the lone Ramsar site of Assam.

�Our study has revealed that the dumping of solid waste into the wetlands causes release of toxic substances to the water-bodies and consequently effecting physico-chemical change of the water which also leads to the loss of different species of aquatic plants and animals,� Dr Kashyap says. Moreover, the natural habitat of Deepor Beel which draws aquatic birds in their thousands including many migratory species has been severely disturbed by the indiscriminate dumping of solid waste.

Pointing out that the topography of the Guwahati city is a bowl-shaped one where the inner areas gradually acquire depth, Dr Kashyap says that the British rulers understood the fact and therefore they had utilized only the river bank of the Brahmaputra which was comparatively on a higher altitude than the inner landscape.

�Today the situation stands completely changed, with the whole of Guwahati being indiscriminately utilized for construction of different household and commercial buildings, offices, institutions, roads, etc., giving little thought to the protection of eco-sensitive zones,� he says.

Encroachment and construction of high-rise buildings over the wetlands and low-lying areas which used to be the water reservoir of excess rainwater; siltation in drain associated with soil erosion stemming from destruction of hills; and an unscientific drainage system and clogging of drains together with indiscriminate dumping of solid waste, have combined to worsen the situation vis-�-vis artificial flood and waterlogging in the city.

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Flash flood, waterlogging to worsen

GUWAHATI, Jan 19 � According to a three-year extensive study conducted by the environmental group ENVIRON, the problem of flash flood and waterlogging in Guwahati is going to worsen manifold, and by the next ten years many areas of the city will reel under eight-feet-deep water during the rainy season, rendering those areas unlivable.

ENVIRON conducted the investigation (from 2011 to 2013) at some specified locations of Hatigaon, Panjabari, Ganeshguri, Christianbasti, Bhangagarh, Paltan Bazar, Ambari, Silpukhuri, Chandmari and in AIDC of RGB Road.

Dr Amarjyoti Kashyap, president of ENVIRON and a solid waste management consultant, says that the height of the water level has been increasing by 3 to 6 inches every year in most of the affected areas, which is an alarming trend.

�If this situation continues, after 10 years the average height of the water level will increase up to 30 to 60 inches than the present level. In such a situation, the height of the water level in RGB road (Zoo-Narengi Tiniali, AIDC) will be around eight feet; in Maniram Dewan Road (Ambari, Silpukhuri and Chandmari) it will be around 7 feet; and in GS Road (Christanbasti, Bhangagarh), it will be around 6.5 feet. Consequently, all the by-lanes and most of the households will undergo substantial inundation,� Kashyap says.

The study which took into account the problem of clogging of drains in the city found that out of 639.032 km of city drains, 302.57 km remains clogged during the rainy season. The amount of plastic removed from the clogged drains is 1.37 tons a day.

It has also been observed that some 40 sq.km. area comprising wetlands in Guwahati has been severely affected by dumping of solid waste. Reckless dumping of solid waste into the low-lying areas including wetlands such as Deepor Beel, Narengi Beel, Silsako Beel, Borsola Beel and Sarusola Beel has turned the water bodies into wastelands, drastically reducing their water-carrying capacity.

Currently all the municipal solid waste generated in the city (around 300 metric tons a day) is collectively dumping over the low-lying areas of West Boragaon which is also a part of Deepor Beel, the lone Ramsar site of Assam.

�Our study has revealed that the dumping of solid waste into the wetlands causes release of toxic substances to the water-bodies and consequently effecting physico-chemical change of the water which also leads to the loss of different species of aquatic plants and animals,� Dr Kashyap says. Moreover, the natural habitat of Deepor Beel which draws aquatic birds in their thousands including many migratory species has been severely disturbed by the indiscriminate dumping of solid waste.

Pointing out that the topography of the Guwahati city is a bowl-shaped one where the inner areas gradually acquire depth, Dr Kashyap says that the British rulers understood the fact and therefore they had utilized only the river bank of the Brahmaputra which was comparatively on a higher altitude than the inner landscape.

�Today the situation stands completely changed, with the whole of Guwahati being indiscriminately utilized for construction of different household and commercial buildings, offices, institutions, roads, etc., giving little thought to the protection of eco-sensitive zones,� he says.

Encroachment and construction of high-rise buildings over the wetlands and low-lying areas which used to be the water reservoir of excess rainwater; siltation in drain associated with soil erosion stemming from destruction of hills; and an unscientific drainage system and clogging of drains together with indiscriminate dumping of solid waste, have combined to worsen the situation vis-�-vis artificial flood and waterlogging in the city.

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