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Amazon: The lungs of the world are on fire

The Amazon will need more than prayers, it will need action

By The Telegraph

  • Published 24.08.19, 9:42 AM
  • Updated 24.08.19, 9:42 AM
The Amazon rain forest in Para State, Brazil.
The Amazon rain forest in Para State, Brazil. Picture courtesy: The New York Times

Sir — The lungs of the world are on fire. Horrific images and videos of the forest fires in the Amazon with the hashtag, ‘PrayForAmazonia’, are all over social media. But saving the Amazon will need more than prayers, it will need action. Fighting the forest fire on the ground or donating money might not be things that everyone can do. But what is easily doable is making conscious choices. The fires are often started by ranchers and logging industries. By making educated choices as consumers, these people can be economically forced to check the exploitation of the Amazon. Reducing paper consumption and buying rainforest-safe products are just two ways of doing this.

Sahana Ghosh,

Under water

Sir — Newspapers across the city were filled with images of waterlogged streets, with people in some localities even resorting to the use of boats. This year, the drainage issue seems to have been particularly aggravated. The civic authorities have blamed excessive rainfall for this condition. They are partly right. However, one hopes that they have now learnt a lesson and will take steps to remedy the faulty drainage system of Calcutta, which is known to fail each year. If the rains continue during the Pujas and the streets are waterlogged, Calcuttans everywhere will be very disappointed.

Ajay Kumar Deb Biswas,

Sir — Torrential downpours that have lashed the city recently laid bare pothole-ridden roads across the city. Stretches of the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass appear to be worst-hit. While building roads, civic planners and engineers should keep in mind that road surfaces should be built to withstand the monsoons. The slightest rain leaves the roads in a mess. Motorists and bikers are most at risk as potholes can be life-threatening, often leading to accidents especially during office hours when they are in a rush to reach work on time. Sometimes people who drive small cars and motorbikes, get stuck in these death traps.

Given the situation, if roads are not repairable immediately owing to constant rainfall, there should at least be distinct signage alerting people about large potholes. During heavy downpours, additional traffic police should be posted at dangerous spots to avert any untoward incidents. Many a life can be saved with these small interventions.

K. Das,

Sir — I would like to draw the attention of the authorities concerned to the perennial problem of waterlogging in many localities of Sonarpur during the monsoons. Being an unplanned city, localities in Sonarpur are especially susceptible to waterlogging. The menace of waterlogging is not restricted to Sonarpur. But here, unlike in many other places, once a locality is inundated, it stays that way for days. In low-lying areas, the water enters houses, making life miserable. The drainage is in a shambles. During heavy rains, filthy water from the drains overflow onto the streets. Those venturing out have to plod through this filthy water for days. Why is the municipality lax when it comes to laying concrete drains? This laxity is not observed when it comes to collecting taxes. There seems to be no solution in sight to this problem. The media must highlight this issue so that the civic authority is forced to take action.

Ashim Chakrabarty,
South 24 Parganas

Sir — Even though the rainfall this year has been below average, the streets of Calcutta, especially parts of Behala, were waterlogged for several days. The reason for this was the intensity of rainfall in a short span of time. Even though such intense rainfall in a sign of climate change, Calcutta is far from being a stranger to the fallouts of Indo-Gangetic depressions. Why then are the city’s keepers caught napping each year? What is being done about the drainage system around Behala? Ever since the construction of the East-West Metro corridor began, indiscriminate dumping of concrete and construction material has made the situation in Behala worse than before. Combined with the absence of the Majerhat bridge, life is a nightmare for residents in this part of the city.

Ashok Kapoor,