Locust attacks may come to New Delhi — these 15 pictures show how they have already wreaked havoc in other parts of India
Parveen Kaswan IFS/Twitter
- At least 10 Uttar Pradesh districts were on alert on May 26 after a large number of locusts were spotted in Mahoba and Jhansi districts.
- The locusts are currently active in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
- So far, these
locust attackshave had a low impact on crops as farmers have already harvested Rabi crops.
- However, if these attacks are not prevented the present volume of the swarms will grow exponentially and people will have to deal with up to 80 million locusts per square kilometre.
A locust is a large, mainly tropical grasshopper, with strong powers of flight and it migrates in vast swarms which cause extensive damage to vegetation.
At least 10 districts in Uttar Pradesh were on alert on May 26 after a large number of locusts were spotted in Mahoba and Jhansi districts. Their visit came after already attacking crops in neighbouring states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
This swarm has come travelling through Iran, Pakistan, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. And now, these locusts are headed to the national capital, New Delhi — and could have a severe impact on its 22% of green cover.
Several countries have witnessed an increase in locust swarms in the last two years. The primary reason behind this is Mekunu and Luban cyclonic storms which occurred in May and October 2018 in Oman and Yemen.
Here are some pictures showing the movement of highly destructively locusts in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh :
Amid coronavirus outbreak, India is struggling with the worst
Around 50,000 hectares of croplands have been destroyed by the locusts and they are still out there — damaging whatever comes in their way.
Desert Locusts are usually sited in western Rajasthan and Gujarat every year in small groups.
They don't attack animals or humans but can devastate crops and other areas of greenery. However, a small group of locusts is capable of eating food equivalent to 35,000 people.
They are known to eat leaves, flowers, bark, stems, fruit, seeds and crops including millet, rice, maize, sorghum, sugarcane, barley, cotton, fruit trees, date palm, vegetables, rangeland grasses, acacia, pines and banana.
The locusts are currently active in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
Rajasthan is currently the worst-affected state, according to the Union Environment ministry.
So far, these locust attacks have had a low impact on crops as farmers have already harvested Rabi crops. But the next cycle of Kharif crops could be at risk.
If these attacks are not prevented the present volume of the swarms will grow exponentially and people will have to deal with up to 80 million locusts per square kilometre.
At some places in UP, farmers have been advised to beat thalis to drive these insects away. People have used a similar technique in Jaipur, Rajasthan too.
In Vamsi's district, authorities were arranging sound systems in the fields where crops are vulnerable.
Farmers have also been advised to play loud music to drive the insects away and save crops like moong and vegetables.
In Rajasthan, the government is using drones and planes to fight the locust attack.
These attacks can also turn profitable for people who catch them, according to Dr Srinivas Siddharth. Interestingly, locusts are rich in protein, which is a healthy food option for birds and fish.
(With inputs from agencies)
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