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Issue 10
, 2009
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Rising salt in Ganga threat to its fertility

Natural regeneration of mangroves along the river bank in Kolkata worries experts
Source: Hindustan Times, New Delhi, Date: , 2009

waterRising sea levels are causing salt water to flow into the Ganga, threatening its ecosystem and turning vast farmlands barren, a climate change expert warned . A study by Jadavpur University has revealed surprising growth of mangroves on the Ganga, said Pranabes Sanyal, eastern India representative of the National Coastal Zone Management Authority. “This phenomenon is called extension of salt wedge and it will salinate the groundwater of Kolkata and turn agricultural lands barren in adjoining rural belts,” said the expert in global warming. Sea levels in some parts of the Bay of Bengal are rising at 3.14 mm annually against a global average of 2 mm, threatening low-lying areas of the eastern parts of the country. Also, climate experts had warned last year that as temperatures rise, the Indian subcontinent will be badly hit with more frequent and more severe natural disasters like floods and storms and more disease and hunger. Sanyal and the Department of Oceanography at Jadavpur University spotted the mangrove growth along the Ganga. “We were surprised over the natural regeneration of mangroves along the river bank in Kolkata and it is worrisome,” said Sanyal, who teaches in the university. Mangroves are more typically found 100 km away in the swampy Sundarban archipelago.