BALASORE: Ponds being converted into highlands for construction purposes has added to the water scarcity woes of Balsore town. The unusual rise in day temperature by at least five to seven degree Celsius above the usual temperature during summer reminds people of a bleak water scenario they are staring at.
While people are devising ways to turn water bodies into highlands, there is hardly any attempt by the Government agencies to stop this illegal act of filling.
According to reports, more than 200 big ponds in the town have been filled up by either individuals or private builders for construction purposes in the last few years despite consecutive Supreme Court rulings and directions from the High Court.
Experts said fast vanishing water bodies, depleting forest covers and mushrooming concrete structures are the major reasons for the rise in temperature in the considerably cool coastal districts of Odisha.
Environment researcher Prasanta Kumar Padhi said water can absorb 10 times more heat than the concrete surface. “While the specific heat of water is around 4186 J/Kg.C, it is around 300 of an equivalent surface area of concrete slab. Besides, depleting forest cover in the urban areas making way for concrete jungles is also responsible for unusual rise in temperature,” he said.
Surprisingly, wetlands are among the least protected ecosystems in the State. There are thousands of lakes, ponds and mangrove swamps that are vital to the State’s water needs, food production and biodiversity, but environmental policy has largely failed to acknowledge their contribution. Even as the Government has initiated ‘Mo Pokhari’ scheme, it has failed to meet its objectives.
The State has also failed to enact laws to prevent illegal filling up of water bodies despite various directives.