Every day, the global situation of the water crisis is worsening and many of us are even aware of this. Research by the United Nations shows that “two billion people live in countries that experience high water stress”. These alarming rates should alert everybody and start saving the planet. To create awareness of the effects of drought, the 17th of June is designated as the World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought
What are Desertification and Drought?
In simple words, when fertile land is turned into non-productive land or in extreme cases, turned into dryland is called desertification. The reason for this change could be both humans and climate change. Inappropriate use of agricultural land or overexploiting water resources are some of the man-made reasons which lead to desertification. A drought, on the other hand, is a natural phenomenon where there is not an adequate amount of rainfall in an area for a prolonged time causing the lack of water content in the soil, leading to a water shortage or scarcity.
The Effects of Desertification and Drought:
In both cases, the first impact will be on the agricultural industry as during desertification the land is infertile and unfit for growing crops. During drought, the lack of groundwater will affect agriculture and to water the crops the farmers can use an irrigation system but that means that there needs to be a water body nearby for it to happen. This hit on agriculture will set things back globally, as without food there is nothing. Unemployment and shortage of food would be caused, piling on the existing issues of water shortage. The whole process is a vicious cycle, where humans were the main contributors to the situation.
Desertification will also lead to another severe issue which is the scarcity of natural fuels and other building materials. The lack of plants around a particular area will also affect the livestock as they do not have anything to graze on. Without trees, there may be several natural phenomena caused and lack of trees leads to soil erosion. According to the National Geographic explorer Alexandra Cousteau, there will soon be cases of “Water refugees”. By the term water refugees, she means that soon people will start to migrate to different places in search of water.
The theme for World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2021:
World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought theme for this year is focused on turning desertified land into usable land and improving the quality of the land. This will provide many opportunities such as increased employment as more people can get into agriculture or in trying to retrieve the land. It will also be helpful for the environment and help reduce the production of harmful gases which affect the ozone layer.
How to Combat Desertification and Drought?
Even though 70% of the earth is water only 0.03% of it is fresh water, hence desalination of seawater would be a good approach to tackle drought but it is a very tedious process. Rainwater harvesting is a simple method which even a common man can do, in order to save water. Every house can install an uncomplicated device that collects the rainwater and saves it in a tank. The easiest and most important method is planting more trees.
Establishing seed banks, which are nothing but preserving seeds to make sure they are usable even after a long time. This way there will be no need to waste the seeds until the land is ready to be grown. Enriching the soil with nutrients and organic manure to improve the quality of the soil will also help to overcome desertification.
We all may have our individual homes to live in, but one home that we all share in common is the planet earth and as responsible residents of this planet, we are obligated to protect it at all cost. Even if you do not want to care for everybody, think about yourself, you need water and a place to live, so help save the planet on World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.
Also, Read About- World Oceans Day