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Opinion

Lobster attacks must be taken seriously | Editorial HT – editorials

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The Rajasthan government sought assistance from the Center on Tuesday to help contain lobster attacks in 12 districts and compensate farmers who have suffered losses due to infestation. In its letter to the Center, the state made three points: one, its countermeasures in 3.5 lakh hectares have failed; second, these insects can destroy food destined for 2,500 people in 24 hours; and third, there is a risk that attacks will spread to other states. Globally, 20 countries have been affected by this round of lobster attacks. In its February 3 update, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said the situation remains alarming in the Horn of Africa, the Red Sea region and on both sides of the border between India and Pakistan. On February 2, Pakistan declared an emergency to fight insects in the agricultural Punjab.

Lobsters are a group of short-horned grasshoppers that multiply rapidly as they migrate. Among the four species of lobsters found in India, the desert lobster is the most destructive. Typically, states deploy equipment to spray organophosphorus in concentrated doses to kill lobsters. This outbreak, according to scientists, may be related to the climate crisis. In 2019, the monsoon began six weeks earlier (first week of July) in western India. It also lasted until November, instead of the usual September / October cycle. Prolonged rains created conditions of reproduction and also produced natural vegetation from which they could feed. FAO officials believe that this attack will probably not establish a migration trend, but they add that this depends on normal monsoon winds. Unfortunately, among many natural processes that have affected the climate crisis, monsoons could also be one. This means that India should take the lobster sprout seriously.

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