A new study conducted by Central University of Rajasthan has predicted that the sandstorms from the Thar desert will travel as far as the National Capital Region (NCR).
The eastwards migration of Thar desert has been observed in recent years due to variety of factors.
The reasons for fast expansion are migration of people, changes in the rainfall pattern, spread of sand dunes and unscientific plantation drives.
The desert ecology has been affected due to degradation of land and the climate change has contributed to the spread of arid region.
In upcoming years there is a fear of intense sandstorms as Aravali hills have started to erode. These hills provide natural barrier between desert and the plains.
Intention of study
The study was undertaken within the framework of UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The climate and vegetation in Thar was studied during the course.
Degradation of Aravalis
Unchecked mining and real estate development has been fast degrading Aravalis. The sand storms have been able to travel to Deli-NCR.
Till now there is no mechanism in place to check expansion of sand dunes. Over-exploitation has led to loss of vegetation cover in the areas adjacent to the Thar Desert.
Study of desert ecosystem in Jodhpur has found that vegetation cover and water bodies had increased in the area in the last 46 years.
The Thar is the world’s ninth largest hot subtropical desert. It spreads across India and Pakistan, forming a natural boundary.
About 85% of the desert lies in India and 15% in Pakistan. A small portion also expands to Gujarat, Haryana and Punjab.