As we breathe, as we eat, and as we drink, we somehow depend on the biodiversity which brings us the necessary and that necessary is oxygen and clean air for survival. Biodiversity in itself is a broad word that incorporates a pool of varied flora and fauna that contributes to the environment individually through its existence.
A Strategic Road
The inadequate transportation infrastructure facility in Eastern Sikkim made the Government of India take the major decision of making roads to let the transportation be less inconvenient. The Ministry of Roads Transport and Highway, Govt. of India right now prioritizes the up-gradation of the National Highway to be 2 lanes with increased width. The existing NH717 (A) was constructed during the reign of Chogyal, the then King of Sikkim and has a total length of 19.10 Kms .The road alignment passes through frequently
cultivated land, Forest plantation & habitation etc. The road was constructed to provide connectivity to East Districts of Sikkim. It was upgraded to the status of National Highway in the year 2016.
The plan of the strategic road is being taken ahead on the cost of slaughtering 8000 trees. A common term that we have been hearing since our childhood ‘Deforestation’ is what is seen right now on the road from Bakrakote to Gangtok to make transportation convenient for the people but on the other hand the consequences of the same can be disastrous. It might be very essential for improvement & up-gradation of existing NH-717-A conforming to National Highway Standards but it should not let deforestation be the part of it. By this step, many other aspects of society will be affected. The loss of trees and other vegetation can lead to climate change, desertification, soil erosion, fewer crops, flooding, increased global warming in the atmosphere, and a myriad of problems for native people.
Eventually, the biodiversity will be shaken up and as a result, will become unstable. The consequences of the above may lead the unwanted results including:-
It is not hard to think soil as compact and unmoving but this thinking doesn’t always move forward in the same way. In reality this might come as a surprise that the soil can be loose and will not always stay in the same place. It can be swept away by rain or by wind if not properly anchored. The roots of the plants mainly play the role to anchor the soil. Clearing out the trees is going to welcome the issue of soil erosion openly and this is further going to lead into major issue of landslide which again will hinder the transportation facility.
Disrupted Water Cycle
A common term ‘Water cycle’ explains us the process of evaporation and rain. We all know How oceans play an important role here but plants contribute to this process majorly. Clearing out the forest is going to affect the climate of the the particular location intensely as the plants take up the groundwater which is further evaporated through the process of photosynthesis. So, in the coming years the rain will reduce and the land has more chances of becoming barren leading to Desertification. Such dry conditions can lead to an increased risk of fire and great loss of life for the plants and animals that once lived in the forest.
Trees are the greenhouse gas filters as long as they are alive but the moment they are cut down the CO2 stored in the trunk and leaves are released into the atmosphere which adds on to the already present greenhouse gases. This strategic Plan is going affect the climate of the particular location. It is estimated that deforestation contributes as much as 30 percent to global greenhouse gas emissions each year.
Living beings have become masters when it comes to adapting an environment whether it be an animal, a plant or a human but adapting to a new environment is never an immediate action but a long a process which might even take decades. If enough deforestation occurs, entire species can be wiped out. This loss of life is known as biodiversity loss. This can be seen in the areas of Sikkim dealing with mass slaughtering. It will result in biodiversity loss and affect of the same may not be felt immediately but it will affect the native and the indigenous people adversely in the coming years.
The government may later try to plant saplings in the place of the tee that has been cut down but this act will not bring back the loss as it takes a whole lifetime of a human to see a sapling forming a full grown tree. This project of extending the road for the convenience of people will end the livelihood of many and this is the Irony of the situation.
Biodiversity loss is not just the loss of the animal or plant but the whole Earth.