IBNS: Human greed is causing destruction of forest covers in India’s Kerala and Pakistan’s Balochistan exposing the regions to future climate disasters. Sai Kiran from from India’s Thiruvananthapuram and Tanveer Ahmed from Quetta in Pakistan report in a cross-border journalism project
The southernmost state of Kerala in peninsular India is at least 2,300 km far from Balochistan province in Pakistan. What links these two regions which are different in every aspect- be it geographical, climatic or political? The answer is the exploitative nature of human beings, who are at war with the environment, more out of greed than necessity, without realising what is in the offing — despite nature sending several visible signs.
Both India and Pakistan are victims of climate change. Balochistan province in Pakistan and Kerala in India are faced by environment issues because the forests in both the regions are cut by the population for encroachment and fuel.
Two sites, which have been recognised by UNESCO as heritage sites, are slowly facing the wrath of nature, as human exploitation is at its peak. The famous Western Ghats run along the western coast of peninsular India for 1,600 km and touch six states including Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, covering the whole length of Kerala and ending at Marunthvazh Malai in Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu. Of these six states, the state of Kerala (which has the highest population density among Indian states) alone accounts for 40% of the ghats, with maximum human agglomeration on the highly ecologically fragile mountain range.
Rainforest cover of Western Ghats in Kerala. (Image by Shagil Kannur/Wikipedia Creative Commons)
Meanwhile, hundreds of kilometres away in Balochistan, another region recognised by UNESCO is facing a similar fate. Almost 100 km away from Balochistan’s capital city of Quetta is Asia’s biggest juniper forest in Ziarat. Kabir Khan, 50, keeps his guest room warm with the traditional stove fuelled by the trunks and branches of juniper trees. Ironically, the ceiling of the same room…