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Deltas most important rivers of Asia are in danger: Study

02:53 PM Mar 23, 2023 IST | Ground report
deltas most important rivers of asia are in danger  study

As per a recent study, the livelihoods of millions of people living in the river deltas, which are among the world’s most productive lands, are in peril. These areas, where large rivers merge with the sea and deposit their natural sediments, are typically only a few meters above sea level.

A recent study published in One Earth, led by Stanford University, suggests that all of these important values are highly susceptible to the imminent effects of global environmental change.


Threats to river deltas

Despite accounting for less than 0.5% of the world’s land area, river deltas are responsible for more than 4% of global GDP, and 3% of global crop production, and are home to 5.5% of the world’s population. Therefore, the deterioration of river deltas due to factors such as population growth, climate change, and the construction of dams and water reservoirs is a major cause for concern.

The study has found that the world’s most important river deltas are highly susceptible to changes in their closest, global climate.


The study’s lead scientist, Raphael Schmidt, who is also the author, highlighted that coastal populations are often at risk due to sinking land caused by human activities, rather than rising seas. This has led to a growing number of threats being ignored worldwide, particularly in coastal areas.

Under normal circumstances, deltas are a dynamic but stable system subject to various factors.


However, these processes are now out of balance due to artificial embankments, hydrocarbon extraction, groundwater pumping, and the construction of dams and reservoirs that restrict the flow of sediment.

Schmidt’s study identified the major causes of land loss and fragility in the world’s major deltas, highlighting the need for more sustainable delta management.


Sinking land poses threat to deltas

The study revealed that sinking land, rather than sea level rise, poses the greatest threat to deltas around the world.

While climate change mitigation is crucial to prevent sea level rise, curbing the overuse of natural resources in river deltas and their contributing basins is also vital.

Coastal countries have a significant opportunity and responsibility to have a greater and more immediate impact on delta management.

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