Soaring mercury at Imphal: Price of damning environment

From 35.6 degree Celsius the hottest in 15 years recorded back in 2014, today it is 36.97 and one wonders where this will stand in the Celsius story of Manipur or Imphal. Clearly the impact of global warming is being felt here and this should be a cause for worry for all. It is not only Imphal, but even some of the hill districts such as Ukhrul district headquarters and Mao have become more and more warm with each passing year. Correspondingly this has meant that the warm months are now longer and those who grew up in the 70s and 80s will remember how the woollens used to be pulled out from the cupboards or almirahs when Durga Puja comes, usually in the month of October. Winter used to stretch on till March but the children of today will count winter till only the month of January for February now has become warm, very warm. There is a reason why the world has set aside a special day as World Environment Day on June 5 every year and when it began in 1974, Manipur was still unspoilt, living with nature and the mercury not rising as high as seen today. However things have changed down the years and the once green hills are today barren. Same is the case with the leiraks and leikais in Imphal. Every compound in Imphal used to be verdant with bamboo groves, hedges and fruit bearing trees but today this is no longer the case and most households no longer have their own ponds. This is the impact of growth of population with more and more folks opting to settle in the capital of the State for obvious reasons and this has had a direct impact on the living space of all.
The message behind the 36.97 degree Celsius should not be lost on anyone. It should not be taken as the record for one day but could be a signal of things to come in the future. Plant more trees and make sure that the trees planted survive and are well protected. Planting trees, as on World Environment Day should not be an exercise for photo ops to be published in the newspapers and uploaded on social media. Trees can go a long way in making the place more liveable and certainly the mercury touching 36.97 should be an eye opener for all. Everyone should have the spirit of the environmentalist. This is where schools and colleges can step in and see how they can contribute. Let their be Green Brigades in all the schools. Let conservation become a yardstick while passing the Class X and Class XII board examinations. For each tree planted and nurtured, let marks be given in the Class X and XII board examinations. These are some initiatives that the Government may seriously explore. Planting trees should not only be on World Environment Day but should be the prime focus of all concerned. Time to start acting and focusing on the need of today and if this need is not addressed to today, there can be no tomorrow. Mercury touching 36.97 in a place like Imphal is cause to press the button and get everyone moving and acting to see what may be done.