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Environmental loss in Sundarbans worth Rs. 1290 Crore: World Bank Report

As per World Bank’s recently released report Building Resilience for Sustainable Development of the Sundarbans, environmental damage in the climate change-hit islands of Sundarbans is costing India Rs. 1,290 crore each year.

This report was jointly prepared by World Bank in collaboration with the West Bengal government.

Key facts of report

  • Losses- Annually the cost of environmental damage associated with ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss is about Rs. 670 crore. While, the cost of health effects due to poor environment is estimated at Rs. 620 crore.
  • Factors- The losses are due to combination of factors associated with unsustainable and inefficient economic activities in Sundarbans.
  • These factors include mangrove destruction, impact of cyclones, reduced agricultural yields and unsustainable fisheries as well as destruction of ecosystem services.
  • Cyclones- Damage costs from cyclones are the highest and accounts for damages worth Rs. 290 crore. It also includes damages to houses, agriculture, human injuries and fatalities.
  • Health issues- Due to environmental degradation, villagers in Sundarbans are suffering from poor health outcomes. This degradation is generally in the form of adverse natural events, such as cyclones and storms and increases in soil salinity.
  • These risk factors contribute considerably to mortality and morbidity, particularly among women and children.
  • Other losses- Climate change along with the sea level rise also has resulted in shrimp losses, carbon sequestration losses associated with degradation of mangrove forest, soil salinity in terms of impact on rice yields, loss of biodiversity and agricultural land losses.

About Sundarbans

Sundarbans is an archipelago of 54 islands and is home to about 44 lakh people. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

In recent times it is hit hard by an increase in floods, storms, salinity and erosion caused by rising sea-levels and global warming.


Muthoot Group partners with WWF for elephant project

Kerala-based business conglomerate Muthoot Group has launched the Friends for Life project in partnership with World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature-India.

This project aims at effective management of human-elephant conflict (HEC) to protect the habitats of Asian elephants in six states as 4 priority landscapes and 1 priority site earmarked by WWF-India.

Priority landscapes include North Bank landscape in Arunachal Pradesh, Kaziranga and Karbi-Anglong in Assam, Terai Arc landscape in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Western Ghats landscape in Tamil Nadu and Kerala and also some parts of northern West Bengal.

This project was launched in Kochi as part of the Muthoot’s Haathi Mera Saathi Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative.

This project will address the problems and provide solutions in terms of reducing elephant and human lives lost in the earmarked priority landscapes. It will also secure crop and property damage in villages and build a future where humans and elephants can live in harmony with each other in selected landscapes.


For first time 19 swamp deer translocated from Kaziranga to Manas National Park

For the first time in India, a herd of 19 swamp deer were translocated  from Kaziranga National Park to Manas National Park in Assam. It was part of ‘Eastern Swamp Deer Conservation Project’ to source their population to Manas National Park.

This translocation initiative was initiated by a team of experts from the Assam Forest Department (AFD), Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) and Assam College of Veterinary Science.

As a part of translocation, they were transported more than 400 kms away from present habitat and were released in a specially prepared enclosure or boma in Manas. This boma (enclosure) is secured by a two-line power fence installed over a barrier to deter leopards.

In this enclosure, they are provided with transplanted short grass originally from their habitat to ensure well- being of the herd.

As part of translocation they will kept in boma for the first few months and later will be released in the park in batches. While some of them will be kept in the boma for breeding purposes.

Swamp deer (Rucervus duvaucelii ranjitsinhi) are popularly known as ‘Barasingha’. Its entire population is currently found only in Kaziranga National Park.

Eastern Swamp Deer Conservation Project- It is an ecological research programme of AFD and WTI along with ONGC started in 2010. The aim of the project is to understand the ecology of the eastern swamp deer and develop management strategies for conservation of their last surviving population in India.

The project generally focuses on  researching diet, genetic constitution and behaviour of swap deers which will provide useful insight for scientific management of the sub-species in Kaziranga, along with creating a second home in Manas National Park.

Translocation: It is a wildlife conservation biology which includes capture, transport and release or introduce species from their original habitat to another habitat far away. It seeks to reduce the risk of their extinction by increasing, augmenting their critical population.