While a single forest fire might not raise alarm, there have been instances where fires occurred repeatedly in certain areas. Due to these repeated fires, the root system of vegetation has been destroyed in these areas, says an environmental activist. Representational Image/AP
Mangaluru: As the monsoon season approaches, environmentalists have expressed concern regarding the recurring threat of landslides in the Western Ghats.
Over the past few years, there have been several instances of landslides within the Western Ghats and also in the villages situated at the foothills.
Despite the government's promises to conduct studies and take appropriate action, no tangible steps have been observed toward preventing such incidents.
Amidst the mounting concern, environmentalists have voiced their apprehension regarding the recurrence of landslides this year.
"This year we have witnessed recurring forest fires in various parts of the Western Ghats like the Shishila range, near Charmady, Yelaneru, Shiradi, and the Bisile region this year," Dinesh Holla, convener of Sahyadri Sanchaya, an environmental organization told Deccan Chronicle.
"While a single forest fire might not raise alarm, there have been instances where fires occurred repeatedly in certain areas. Due to these repeated fires, the root system of vegetation has been destroyed in these areas. Plants, trees, and grasslands play a crucial role in absorbing rainwater, which aids safeguarding the underground water table. However, in areas where vegetation has been completely burnt, rainwater will directly rush down the valley with great force. This significantly increases the risk of landslides," he added.
He emphasized that previous instances of landslides have also been observed in areas affected by forest fires.
Human intervention has also played a detrimental role in aggravating the situation, according to an activist who did not want to be named.
"Unnecessary human activities in the Western Ghats, such as construction works, and schemes like Yettinahole Project have disrupted the natural flow of underground water. This further adds to the potential dangers," he warned.
The activists criticized the government for its inaction and failure to implement measures to mitigate these issues effectively.