saline-soil-reclamation-works-wonders-in-sundarbans

Context: A unique project of reclamation of soil salinity in the Sonagaon village in Gosaba block has given hope to many farmers of the region.

Background

  • In the last week of May 2021, when large areas of the Sundarbans were inundated by saline water under the impact of Cyclone Yaas, farmers across the region had given up hope for fresh crop this season. 
  • Based on earlier experiences of cyclones, many farmers like Biswajit Jana thought that they might not cultivate for the next few years.

Restoration project

  • The focus in the Sundarbans after a cyclone is on short term relief but what researchers tried to do is to provide a long-term sustainable ecological and economic empowerment to the people.
  • The restoration project of cultivating paddy in a 10-bigha plot months after the cyclone has ravaged the landscape. 
  • The salinity of the plot after the cyclone was 17.4 dS/m (salinity is measured using deciSiemens per metre -dS/m) but after the desalination exercise it was down to 2.04 dS/m. 
  • Researchers cultivated a variety of paddy which is relatively less resistant to soil salinity and the output was encouraging.
  • The desalination project was not very sure about the success but the yield of paddy has surprised everyone. 

Related Facts

Soil Salinity

  • It is defined as high concentration of solute salts including Na+, Ca2+, and Mg2+ in soils, causing more than 4 dS/m for soil electrical conductivity, which is comparable to 0.2 MPa of osmotic potential produced by 40 mM sodium chloride (NaCl) in the solution (Rengasamy, 2002).
  • Soil salinity is the amount of dissolved salts in the soil solution (the aqueous phase in the soil). 
  • The process of accumulating soluble salts in the soil is known as salinization. 
  • Salts in the soil have an important effect on the functions and management.

Impact

  • Salinity can decrease plant growth and water quality resulting in lower crop yields and degraded stock water supplies. 
  • Excess salt affects overall soil health, reducing productivity. 
  • It kills plants, leaving bare soil that is prone to erosion.
  • Salts affect plant growth due to increasing soil osmotic pressure and to interference with plant nutrition
  • A high salt concentration in soil solution reduces the ability of plants to acquire water, which is referred to as the osmotic or water-deficit effect of salinity.

Read More about the Unprecedented damage of Sunderbans due to cyclone Yaas

Source: Click Here