World Travel Awards honours Maldives with top Indian Ocean prizes | News

first_img– Advertisement – OlderNew ONS figures reveal collapse of UK tourism sector Maldives enjoyed a strong showing in the hospitality sector. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, home to the world’s first underwater villa, lifted the title of ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Hotel’, while Vakkaru Maldives, with its unique take on luxury, picked up ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Resort’, and Kurumba Maldives won ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Family Resort’.New arrival on the region’s luxury hospitality scene, Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa, was voted ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading New Resort’. Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa claimed ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Villa Resort’ and Andilana Beach Resort, Madagascar declared ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Beach Resort’.- Advertisement – Winners include Maldives, which cemented its reputation as the definitive secluded sanctuary to win ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Destination’, ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Beach Destination’ and ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Dive Destination’. Meanwhile the lush forests, wild waterfalls, unique wildlife and palm-fringed beaches of Mauritius helped it lift ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination’ and ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Honeymoon Destination’. The mystical island of Madagascar was named ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Green Destination’, whilst Reunion Island was heralded ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Nature Destination’.- Advertisement –center_img In the aviation sector, Air Seychelles lifted ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Airline’, while ‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Airport’ went to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport, Mauritius.The results follow a year-long search for the world’s top travel, tourism and hospitality brands. Votes were cast by travel industry professionals and the public, with the nominee gaining the most votes in a category named as the winner.Graham Cooke, founder, World Travel Awards, said: “Our winners represent the very best of the Indian Ocean’s travel and tourism sector and my congratulations to each of them. “They have all demonstrated remarkable resilience in a year of unprecedented challenges.”He added: “The World Travel Awards 2020 programme received a record number of votes cast by the public. “This shows that the appetite for travel and tourism has never been stronger and bodes well for the industry’s future as the global recovery begins.”Other winners include Constance Hotels & Resorts (‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Hotel Brand); Cunard (‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Cruise Line’); Simply Maldives Holidays (‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Travel Agency’); The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort (‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Luxury Resort’); Seychelles Travel (‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Tour Operator’); and Hey Hey Maldives (‘Indian Ocean’s Leading Luxury Tour Operator’).More InformationFor a full list of winners, head over the official website.World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry.Today, the World Travel Awards brand is recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire.Each year, World Travel Awards covers the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognise and celebrate individual and collective success within each key geographical region.For more information about World Travel Awards, take a look here. World Travel Awards has unveiled its Indian Ocean 2020 winners to coincide with its inaugural Indian Ocean Winners Day.The global initiative to recognise and reward excellence in travel and tourism will also reveal its global title holders later this month during the Grand Final. – Advertisement –last_img read more

Climate change key suspect in the case of India’s vanishing groundwater

first_imgArticle published by Maria Salazar Since the Green Revolution, Indian farmers have depended on groundwater to grow enough crops to feed the country’s 1.3 billion people, but groundwater is vanishing in many parts of the country.The combination of overpumping and climate change – resulting in weaker monsoons – has resulted in social disruption in many parts of India, including violent protests and suicides.India won’t be able to solve the problem with just water legislation: the country also needs to take a look at climate change as well. Local farmers and cattle herders gather to withdraw water at a well in the Marwar region of western Rajasthan, India. Courtesy of Dr. Trevor Birkenholtz, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.In three short months during monsoon season, India historically receives 75 percent of their annual precipitation. Imagine awaiting this promised, bountiful rainfall and receiving 14 percent less than average. This is what happened in 2015 – and it compounded decades of drought. India is suffering a water scarcity crisis but, until recently, most people believed that over pumping groundwater was the number one reason behind it. Now, a new study published by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar in Nature Geoscience, shows that variable monsoon precipitation, linked to climate change, is likely the key reason for declining levels of groundwater.India’s rainfall has decreased since the 1950s. When rainfall decreases, so does the water table. By observing climate patterns and well depths, researchers found that groundwater storage dropped in northern India about two centimeters per year between 2002 and 2013. Today, groundwater irrigates over half of India’s crops, but aquifer levels are falling, threatening both water and food security.“We find that climate has much bigger impacts on groundwater resources than we previously thought,” said Dr. Yoshihide Wada, contributing author to the study, senior researcher at IIASA’s Water Program and research scientist at NASA. When groundwater is pumped, it can take years to replenish. In the throes of record-breaking drought, India feels that loss.India’s groundwater problem is detectable from space. From 2002-2013, a satellite from NASA mapped aquifers around the world. The Gravity Recovery Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite detects the Earth’s mass below it and uses this data to measure groundwater pumping. GRACE reported that 54 percent of 4,000 measured groundwater wells are declining, some dropping by more than three feet per year.A warming world has made India’s monsoon season less predictable. During the past century, the Earth warmed 1.5 degrees, largely due to humans’ unprecedented burning of fossil fuels. What appears to be a small change in temperature is causing drastic upheavals in natural patterns. Increased atmospheric temperatures are changing wind currents and causing more frequent and intense storms. In some cases, this is also redistributing rain and intensifying drought.In India, warmer air over the Indian Ocean has altered the path of monsoons – leaving Indian farmers high and dry the past two years in a row.There is no singular definition for water scarcity that takes into account the availability, accessibility, and quality of potable water. However, the Falkenmark Indicator (FI) is a popular tool that measures water runoff and population to determine levels of water stress. According to the FI, a country is considered ‘water scarce’ when they have less than 1,000 cubic meters of usable water per person annually. In 2015, analysis using FI categorized India as having ‘absolute scarcity’, with less than 500 cubic meters of water per person annually.So little water affects security. Last September, protesters set 56 busses on fire in Bengaluru when the Supreme Court ordered that Karnataka must release more water from Cauvery Dam to be used by a bordering state. Retrofitted oil trains deliver millions of liters of water to Lature, a district east of Mumbai. Madhya Pradesh, a state in Central India, deployed armed guards to protect one of its reservoirs after farmers from a neighboring state attempted to steal water last year.Farmers are on the frontlines of the water crisis with India seeing a serious uptick in farmer suicides. Some estimates put the number of related suicides at 500 in 2015, but the central government only publicly acknowledges that 13 farmers’ suicides were related to water shortages. According to the Government of India, 52 percent of agricultural households were in debt in 2014. Heavy debts have resulted in an exodus of farmers, who are now seeking daily labor in large cities.“In spite of the challenges of the agrarian life in India (as with elsewhere) Indian farmers and farming households are some of the most generous that I have ever met,” says Birkenholtz. “They are also innovative; India is full of ‘makers’ – people who see a problem and are determined to find a solution.” Photo from the Marwar region of western Rajasthan, India Courtesy of Trevor Birkenholtz.“Farmers invest their own borrowed money for sinking bore wells to develop agriculture,” said Secretary R.H. Sawkar of the Secretary, Geological Society of India (GSI). Bore wells are similar to tube wells, long shafts that are drilled into the earth. Electric pumps are used to draw the groundwater through the tube to the surface. Most rural farmers pay a flat fee for unlimited electricity to pump from tube wells, leading to over-pumping.But farmers don’t have the money, tools, or know-how to drill deeper wells that can access sinking water tables. This creates a serious dilemma in areas where levels drop by almost a meter per year.“Only rich farmers can effectively pump groundwater from deep aquifers and the urban rich can buy extra water for their luxuries like car washing, [maintaining] lawns near their residence and [using] bottled water for drinking purpose,” said Sawkar.There are over 20 million tubewells in India today, a technology that enabled the Green Revolution in India. The Green Revolution was a global shift in agricultural production, beginning in the 1930s; it mechanized farming for developing nations and utilized new technologies, like pesticides and genetically modified crops, to feed a booming population. Developing countries could suddenly grow more food on the same amount of land.When India gained independence in 1947 the central government – along with the Rockefeller and Ford foundations –brought the Green Revolution to India. This meant cultivation of genetically adapted, high-yielding seeds, a deluge of fertilizers, and flood irrigation. Tube-wells proved to be the best way to irrigate more land, since they reached untapped groundwater. But today, annual groundwater pumping removes at least 24 times what was consumed in the 1950s.“India also inherited Britain’s water policies that were based on water abundance. Any landowner had the right to pump as much groundwater as they wanted… India doubled ag[riculture] productivity between 1972 and 1992 under this system,” said Trevor Birkenholtz, political ecologist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Chapmaign. “In short, there was no groundwater law.”Laissez-faire pumping is today reflected in the fact that farmers pay a single flat fee for electricity to power tubewell pumps.India solidified their commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions when the Indian government ratified the Paris Climate Agreement last October. Climate change is a key driver of changing monsoon patterns which exasperate drought conditions across India. Above, Indian women and children collect groundwater in Marwar region of western Rajasthan, an area affected by climate-exasperated drought.The same revolution that once sustained India’s growing population is partly to blame for the cracked and barren landscape that farmers try to cultivate today. According to the World Bank, India’s population tripled since the 1960s, hitting 1.3 billion in 2015. As India continues to battle climate change and overpumping, an equitable distribution for groundwater, if it ever comes, will take considerable intervention.“This requires strong political will to address this issue, which is lacking,” Sawker said.Groundwater law and rulemaking falls under the purview of individual states in India. Researchers say that the central government will have a difficult time overcoming this decentralized system, if they wish to establish national water laws. To date very few politicians have fought to limit water pumping.“No politician wants to be the one that tells farmers – who vote at rates upwards of 85 percent – that they can no longer pump groundwater at current rates,” said Birkenholtz.It’s more likely that authorities will mandate drip irrigation or restrict the supply of electricity, perhaps through metering, to limit pumping. Using drip irrigation and gaining “more crop per drop” is an efficient alternative to flood irrigation.In parts of India like Marwar region depicted above, some village women spend hours each day collecting water. They enlist the help of their female children, who are taken out of school. When a family must choose between education and water, it’s nearly impossible for them to rise above poverty.Unfortunately, groundwater pumping is only half of the problem. Taking on climate change is equally important in solving India’s water scarcity. Climate change weakens monsoons, groundwater fails to recharge, wells run dry, and families go without water. The future of India’s water security, in part, rests on international agreements to combat climate change like the United Nations Paris Agreement.“Weather is uncertain by nature, and the impacts of climate change are extremely difficult to predict at a regional level,” explained Wada. “But our research suggests that we must focus more attention on this side of the equation if we want to sustainably manage water resources for the future.”Today, India accounts for 4.5 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Under the Paris Agreement, the country has committed to generating at least 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources and decreasing carbon emission intensity related to GDP by 33-35 percent by 2030. This means India’s emissions will likely rise, depending on the level of its economic growth.Citation:Asoka, A., Gleeson, T., Wada, Y., & Mishra, V. (2017). Relative contribution of monsoon precipitation and pumping to changes in groundwater storage in India. Nature Geoscience. Agriculture, Cattle, Climate Change, Drought, Farming, food security, Global Warming, Interns, Water center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more