Ganges salinated by rising sea levels

Rising sea levels are causing salt water to flow into the Ganges, India's biggest river, threatening its ecosystem and farmlands in eastern India, Reuters reported, quoting a global-warming expert. Pranabes Sanyal noted that he and other scientists "were surprised over the natural regeneration of mangroves along the river bank in Kolkata, and it is worrisome".


The sea-water intrusion "will salinate the groundwater of Kolkata and turn agricultural lands barren in adjoining rural belts," said Sanyal, the National Coastal Zone Management Authority’s representative in eastern India.


Sea levels in some parts of the Bay of Bengal were rising at 3.14 millimetres annually compared to a global average of two millimetres, threatening low-lying agricultural areas of eastern India. In 2008, climate experts warned that as temperatures rose, the Indian subcontinent — home to about one-sixth of humanity — would sustain more frequent and more severe natural disasters.


Sanyal and members of Jadavpur University’s oceanography department spotted the mangrove plants – rare along the Ganges – where Kolkata, a city of 12 million people, lies. The plants are found more typically 100 kilometres away, in the swampy Sundarban archipelago, spread over 26,000 square kilometers of the world’s largest delta region.


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