Approximately 105 million hectares, or 32 percent of India’s land, is degraded and one quarter is facing desertification, according to India’s environment minister, Reuters reported. The trend is thought to be caused by overuse of land for grazing livestock and shifting rainfall patterns.
India is not alone. Globally, 2 billion hectares a year are suffering desertification and 24 tons of fertile soils are eroding, Inter Press Service reported. Desertification is expected to intensify with climate change, prompting the United Nations to focus on how to help dryland ecosystems become more resilient.
Falling water levels in Lake Mead could mean that Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona’s largest cities, will have to face water cuts by 2019, The New York Times reported. Droughts in the western United States, coupled with growing water demand, are placing ever more pressure on the Colorado River system.
A Coca-Cola bottling plant in northern India was closed by the government following public protests over the plant’s groundwater use, the Guardian reported. The plant has also been accused of releasing wastewater that does not comply with pollutant limits.