November 07, 2023 – A recent study has brought to light a concerning trend in the Aravali hills, revealing that nearly 8% of this vital natural landscape has vanished between 1975 and 2019. This comprehensive analysis, conducted across four states, serves as a stark warning, projecting that if the current pace of explosive urbanization and mining activities persists, the losses could escalate to a staggering 22% by 2059.
Delhi-NCR, a bustling urban hub, finds itself at the epicenter of both the causes and consequences of this ecological loss. The study unequivocally designates the Aravali hills in this region as the most susceptible to disappearing. As these majestic hills continue to be flattened, they provide an ominous gateway for the Thar desert to encroach further towards the national capital area. The implications of this transformation are manifold, resulting in a landscape that is dustier and more arid, accompanied by heightened pollution levels and increasingly erratic weather patterns.
The research, conducted by scholars from the Central University of Rajasthan (CURaj), drew from extensive analysis of satellite images and land-use maps spanning the years between 1975 and 2019. Their findings, published in the journal Science Earth Informatics in January, underscore the gravity of the situation.
Data scrutinized by the researchers revealed that an alarming 7.6% of the Aravali ranges, encompassing an area of 5772.7 sqkm, had been systematically razed over the 44-year period. Disturbingly, nearly 5% of this once-thriving natural expanse, equivalent to 3,676 sqkm, had been transformed into barren land, while an additional 776.8 sqkm, roughly 1%, succumbed to human settlements.
The research also predicts a grim future for the Aravali region, estimating a further loss of 16,360 sqkm by 2059 if stringent measures aren’t implemented to counteract the ongoing degradation.
This study serves as an urgent wake-up call, compelling authorities and stakeholders to take immediate action to preserve the ecological sanctity of the Aravali hills. It underscores the pressing need to balance urbanization and environmental conservation, highlighting the perilous path that unchecked development and mining activities can lead us down. The fate of this iconic landscape lies in the hands of those who can enact meaningful change and protect this natural treasure for generations to come.