Environmental hotspot, Kolleru Lake, is constantly under the threat of encroachment for the production of food. Poor farmers living in villages around the lake are trying to encroach upon it to eke out a living, and vested interests also want to convert it into aquaculture tanks and paddy fields because of the high yields and low cost of production.
There is no objection whatsoever against anyone who wants to produce food because of the acute shortage in the world. But figures of the United Nations organisations seem to tell a different story.
The theme announced by the United Nations Environment Programme for the World Environment Day to be observed on June 5 is “Think, Eat, Save”. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted. This is equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa.
At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger. Earth is struggling to sustain seven billion people, but FAO estimates that a third of the food produced globally is either wasted or lost.
There is constant pressure from vested interests to encroach and destroy environmental hotspots like the unique Kolleru Lake primarily for the production of food. But it is wetlands like this large freshwater lake and the flora that it supports that scrub and cleanse Greenhouse gases being produced.
Global food production occupies 25 per cent of all habitable land and is responsible for 70 per cent of fresh water consumption, 80 per cent of deforestation and 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.
The Kolleru Wildlife Sanctuary is also second home for thousands of migratory birds that come here in winter.
The lake provides them the food required to take the long flight back to the area where they roost. All these birds will become extinct if the lake is destroyed, says expert on Kolleru Lake P. Gracious.
Reducing the wastage of food will reduce the demand for food production which in turn will reduce the pressure for destruction of such hotspots, Mr. Gracious opines.