Viewpoint: Unabated urbanisation making days hotter

With Kerala witnessing unprecedented heatwave conditions, its neighbour Tamil Nadu also faces similar threat as climate experts have asserted that the state is becoming warmer over the years.    

A high alert was sounded in Kerala this week, after suspected sunstroke deaths were reported following soaring temperature.  The southern state is in the grip of severe drought six months after the flood of the century ravaged it claiming hundreds of life.  

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD)  has predicted that the maximum temperature will increase by 2 degree Celsius in interior TN districts  like Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Dharmapuri, Namakkal, Krishnagiri, Karur, Dindigul,  Salem, Coimbatore, Tiruppur and Erode. Tiruvallur district has also been experiencing heatwave.

Rising mercury levels along with drought conditions raise the risk of wildfire. The recent fire that destroyed several hundred acres of forest land in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and Bandipur Tiger Reserve (BTR) buffer zones has caused concern among forest authorities.  In BTR, helicopters were used to douse the flames.  With dead leaves and grass dried for want of rains, the risk of fire spreading quickly is also on the rise.

The forest custodians have begun keeping a close vigil on movement of people into woods as they are likely to casually throw combustible items including cigarette butts triggering fire. Night patrolling is also being done.

Health tips from doctors and experts help senior citizens and children who are vulnerable to heat-related illness during this season.

This early onset of sizzling summer is attributed to El Nino effect.  But, uncontrolled growth of concrete jungle thanks to unauthorised constructions and unchecked violations plays a bigger role in harsh weather beating down on people now.

In the name of development, forests are cut down, hills mutilated, water bodies encroached and indigenous flora and fauna destroyed. Groundwater is polluted leaving our biodiversity in peril.   

 It is time people understood the gravity of climate crisis and stopped failing a prey to 'development mania' and breathed life into scorched and parched Earth.

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