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Planet Earth: Our Loving Home

Warning Signs to Help End Climate Change: Locust Swarms, Part 2 of 3

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On today’s program, we’ll travel to Pakistan and India to learn how the insects have affected these countries. But first, let’s find out more about locusts, and why they’ve been so plentiful during the past year. Many scientists believe that climate change is largely responsible for the current locust plague. The unusually warm, wet weather in the normally arid areas around the Arabian Peninsula have created ideal conditions for the insects to hatch and multiply. (The) reason behind increased breeding of locusts this year [is] the Indian Ocean temperature changes, (and) increased numbers of abnormal rains and cyclones. So, increasingly, the number of insects over the Arabian Desert [is] roughly 8,000-fold. This year’s attack has been the worst in three decades. Scientists predict that the disaster will enhance as we enter monsoon season. This year’s outbreak has been the worst in Pakistan in nearly three decades, causing billions of dollars in damage and raising concern about food shortages. Pakistan’s prime minister, His Excellency Imran Khan, Shining World Leadership Award for Good Governance laureate, declared the invasion a national emergency, and the government has pledged to assist farmers. Since April 2020, swarms of locusts of biblical proportions have been attacking India. The skies over some parts of the country have been blackened by the insects soaring overhead. The vast swarms have devastated crops in India's heartland, and are now threatening food supplies in the world’s second-most populous country. And the locusts continued to move through the nation. On June 29, 2020, a cloud of insects several kilometers long swarmed into New Delhi, India’s capital region, flying through metro stations and playgrounds, invading sugar cane fields and threatening major losses to the agricultural sector. The infestation came at an already difficult time for New Delhi. Dr. Anshu Sharma of the Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society (SEEDS), a non-profit disaster management organization, says that India faces a number of challenges in the months ahead: "We need to be alert and anticipate where this is going next. The situation is all the more alarming as it comes at a time when the affected states are already reeling under COVID-19 and the ongoing heatwave."
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