The Earth

Heat, Dust, an early Monsoon and the Earth


For the past five to six days, it has been raining every night. Its raining right now … What a welcome relief from the dust, because just a week back, the terrible dust storms were back. We have been in Delhi NCR for 21 years now and if anyone wants proof of climate change, they can talk to us !

The weather has been completely unpredictable to say the least. Earlier we would have these dust storms or just dusty conditions in Feb and maybe March at best. This time we had the dust storms in June and really bad ones. Here are two pics from home – one, is the water filter cover that I wiped clean 30 mins back and see the layer of dust on it and the other is the top of the shoe rack.

Top cover of the water filter – a thick layer of dust

Top of the shoe rack.

The water filter is about 3 feet away from the window and the shoe rack is atleast 20 feet away from any open window or door. It almost seems as though we haven’t cleaned them at all for a few weeks !

Now, the Southwest monsoons have arrived 17 days ahead of schedule as per the Met department. This year till April 30th, the mornings were crisp and cool while the days were comfortably warm and then as if someone pushed a switch on May 1st, the scorching summer took hold. This is the worst summer that we have seen, especially since the humidity was so high. Clothes stick to you. I have written earlier too, that when we moved to Delhi in 1997, I would tell family and friends in Chennai that we don’t sweat in Delhi summers – its dry summers, but that has changed too.

Twenty years is not a very long time in terms of life on Earth … but in twenty years the weather in one tiny spot on it called Delhi NCR has changed so much that lay people like us, who are not climatologists can sense the change. So many things have contributed to this – unchecked use of plastic, garbage mounds that don’t bio-degrade, trees being cut, no rain water harvesting and I will say this at the risk of irritating my meat-eating friends – increased consumption of meat. Many of these are reversible, especially banning the use of plastic and segregation of waste at source can very easily be implemented. Trees can be planted in huge numbers – infact the forest cover has increased by 1% since 2015 which is a very welcome change. Read about it here – https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/indias-forest-tree-cover-up-by-1-in-2-years-centre/article22732640.ece.

Rainwater harvesting needs a push and recharging of rivers and water bodies has to happen. Having enough water will ensure agriculture output isn’t affected atleast by lack of water. The other good news in this year is the work done by the Maharashtra government – the year on year drought situation has been reversed mostly. Read this news clip.

So efforts are paying off and its important to ensure these efforts are taken across the country. I don’t even want to mention Karnataka and Tamilnadu because this post will quickly turn into a rant post … they should learn from Maharashtra and fix their drought issues. Farmer suicides will reduce in Karnataka and Tamilnadu does not need Cauvery water… there, I said it.

Enjoy the rains, eat pakoras so that some bloke somewhere can have a livelihood and remember to segregate waste at source and eliminate plastic usage from your lives. Small changes done in our homes and at an individual level can help the Earth.

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