From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Lake Chad
Mains level : Shrinking water bodies due to Global Warming
One of Africa’s largest freshwater bodies, Lake Chad, has shrunk by 90 per cent.
Try this PYQ from CSP 2018:
Q.Which of the following has/have shrunk immensely/dried up in the recent past due to human activities?
- Aral Sea
- Black Sea
- Lake Baikal
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3
(c) 2 only
(d) 1 and 3
- Lake Chad in the Sahel spans the countries of Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon and is home to 17.4 million people.
- It is blessed with rich aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity.
- The Chari River, fed by its tributary the Logone, provides over 90% of the lake’s water, with a small amount coming from the Yobe River in Nigeria/Niger.
- Despite high levels of evaporation, the lake is freshwater.
- The Lake Chad basin comprises biosphere reserves, World Heritage and Ramsar sites as well as wetlands of international conservation importance.
Why it is significant?
- For years, the lake has been supporting drinking water, irrigation, fishing, livestock and economic activity for over 30 million people in the region.
- It is vital for indigenous, pastoral and farming communities in one of the world’s poorest countries.
- However, climate change has fuelled a massive environmental and humanitarian crisis.
- The United Nations has termed the Lake Chad crisis as “one of the worst in the world”.
A looming peril
- The lake has shrunk 90 per cent over the last 60 years since the chronic droughts surged at the beginning of the 1970s.
- The surface area of the lake was 26,000 square kilometres in 1963; it has now reduced to less than 1,500 square kilometres.
- Its population is exploding and the region has been ripped apart from conflict at an unprecedented scale.
Behind all crises
- The ever-changing climate has dramatically worsened the situation, amplifying food and nutritional insecurity in the region.
- Temperature is rising one-and-a-half times faster than the global average. The seasonal and inter-rainfall patterns have been drastically changing each year.
- This has triggered food insecurity, ultimately pushing communities into the arms of terrorist groups.
- Boko Haram is one of the top insurgent groups with a strong foothold in the region.