What is Majuli Island? Controlling Erosion of Majuli Island-Floating B4 Boat Labs (Download PDF)

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To safeguard fast-eroding Majuli island- world’s largest riverine island using government is conducting research on floating Brahmaputra Biodiversity and Biology Boat (B4) labs along Brahmaputra River.

Image of Majuli Island Erosion

Image of Majuli Island Erosion

Image of Majuli Island Erosion

What is Majuli Island?

  • Majuli is a river island in the Brahmaputra River and the 1st island district of the country.

  • Formed by the Brahmaputra River in the south and the Kherkutia Xuti, a branch of the Brahmaputra, joined by the Subansiri River in the north

  • Island has a total area of 1, 250 square km at the beginning of the 20th but not has an area of only 352 square km.

  • Most of the areas has been lost to erosion with Majuli shrunking as the river surrounding it grows.

  • Recognised by Guinness Book of World Records as World’s Largest River Island.

  • Abode of the Assamese neo-Vaishnavite culture.

Biodiversity Hotspot Majuli Island

  • A wetland, Majuli is a hotspot for flora and fauna, with many rare and endangered avifauna species including migratory birds arriving in the winter season.

  • Birds include greater adjutant stork, pelican, Siberian crane, and the whistling teal.

  • Island is almost pollution free and the chronic rainfall.

Reason for Erosion of Majuli Island

  • Extensive soil erosion on its banks is due to large embankments built in neighboring towns upriver to prevent erosion during the monsoon season when the river distends its banks.

  • Backlash of the tempestuous Brahmaputra’s thus falls on this islet, eroding most of the area.

  • Surveys show that in 15–20 years from now, Majuli would cease to exist.

  • The Brahmaputra River Restoration Project- Background on Efforts to Save Island

  • Government has sanctioned ₹ 250 crores for the protection of the island.

  • It is believed that four-lane highway protected by concrete mat along the southern boundary of Majuli and excavation of river bed of the Brahmaputra River can solve the problem.

  • The project includes two flood gates for the Kherkatia suti- a tributary of the Brahmaputra.

  • A nomination sent to the UNESCO for the declaration of Majuli as world heritage site.

Efforts by Local Environmental Activist Jadav Payeng

  • Local environmental activist Jadav Payeng planted 550 hectare forest, known as Molai Forest to combat erosion on the island.

  • Earlier island was barren sandbars vulnerable to erosion but not has become a lush forest becoming habitat for animals including elephants, tigers, deer, and vultures

Aim of B4 Project

  • Study changes caused by dams, climate change, human interventions, and eventual effects on river eco-system.

  • Constantly monitor impact of various environmental and anthropological factors affecting river

  • Conduct research on mitigating the effects of anthropogenic and natural changes.

The Big Picture

  • Project’s interdisciplinary plan is developed with IIT Guwahati as the nodal agency.

  • It will study freshwater resources of North East India with integrated approach aimed to combine data, science, and judgement to derive policy decisions.

  • Initially, it will cover region from Pasighat, Dibrigargh, Neemati, Tejpur. and Guwahati in Assam.

Brahmaputra Biodiversity and Biology Boat (B4) Labs

  • B4 boat labs is a large barge (or boat) set up on river and equipped with laboratory and cold storage facilities for holding samples

  • Multiple satellite boats or rafts will venture into shallower and narrower parts of the river to lift samples.

  • The boat will have permanent lab spread over two floors- One floor dedicated to scientists, other accessible to residents to learn about the eco-system.

- Published/Last Modified on: November 14, 2017

Environment/Ecology

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