The locust attack is a wake-up call | HT Editorial
Last week, swarms of desert locusts entered western India from Pakistan and destroyed crops in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Madhya Pradesh. On Sunday, reports said that the swarms have moved deeper into UP. The three states have sent out drones, tractors and cars to kill them with pesticides. India has not witnessed full-blown locust cycles after 1993. Heavy rains and increasing number of cyclones, both effects of the climate crisis, enabled unprecedented breeding and the rapid growth of locust populations on the Arabian Peninsula early last year, according to the United Nations.
The long gap between the last and the present locust attack in India has had a consequence. In an interview to the Indian Express, the director-general of Indian Council of Agricultural Research admitted that there hasn’t been much “systematic research” on desert locusts since the 1990s and the current invasion is a wake-up call to revive the programme. This is indeed a wake-up call. The earth has entered a period of hydrological, climatological, and biological change that differs from previous episodes . Therefore, it is important that India puts in enough funds to predict the course of the present global environmental changes to understand the sources , consequences, and formulate national responses.