Can 2020 be worse? Locusts disaster strikes parts of the world
The year 2020 does not look like its giving truce anytime soon. From pandemics to natural disasters, nature is calling on humans.
Without a doubt, the year 2020 to date has been quite a rollercoaster. From the possibility of a world war III to COVID-19, there is no resting period for the world. In addition to the pandemic, nature seems to show no mercy, as if it were revenge. With an outpour of floods, volcanic eruptions, the year has not been easy on us, humans.
Recently there has been a massive swarm of locusts eating its way across South Asia, the horn of Africa, and the middle east. Reports published state that it is the worst seen in decades. With almost a million hectares under threat, this is a serious crisis and threat to the very livelihood of people dependent on agriculture.
What are locusts?
Locusts are a type of grasshoppers that have been feared throughout history. They are known to form huge swarms eating their way, devouring crops and causing some serious agricultural damage at their wake.
Climate change might be a possible reason for the recent locust outbreaks. Dry spells force the locusts together in patchy areas of land with less vegetation. The sudden gathering of the locust trigger a release of serotonin making them more sociable have a varied appetite.
During tropical weather, producing moist soil, plants grow faster but with low nitrogen, creating a perfect opportunity for locusts to produce rapidly and form larger swarms. Locusts having weird physiology, are attracted to low nitrogen plants.
A major threat:
Researchers suggest that the government should think twice before using any pesticides. It is an added concern that the spraying of chemicals can affect the population and environment surrounding it. It is recommended to look at alternatives such as biopesticides which can target the pests without causing damage to others. However, the unavailability of large amounts of biopesticides in this current pandemic is forcing the government to resort to chemical options. Furthermore, biopesticides are not quick or effective as chemical sprays.
Locusts when reaching an extremely dense population swarm out to find more food. With the help of the wind, locusts can reach speed up to 90 miles per hour. Scientists warn that these swarms can have damaging effects across thousands of square miles starting from Ethiopia, across the Persian Gulf to India. Such an incident will cause huge damage to the food supply for 20 million people!
These potential food shortages will be felt in the latter part of the year, so there might still be some time to act by bolstering the available food supplies. According to a recent report published by the UN locust watch program, the countries at the biggest risk are Ethiopia, Kenya, India, and some parts of the Persian Gulf.