Whom to blame “Nature or Humans” for the Devastating Impact on Shimla

The blame for the devastating impact on Shimla overwhelmingly falls on human actions rather than nature. The allure of Shimla's beauty spurred uncontrolled expansion and ill-conceived urban planning, yielding inadequate infrastructure unable to withstand natural forces. Delicate ecosystems were sacrificed for roads and urban sprawl, upsetting the balance and leading to deforestation, soil degradation, and disrupted water bodies.

The unrelenting rains since July 2023 exploited these vulnerabilities, causing floods and landslides that claimed lives, devastated property, and harmed the environment. While nature plays a role, human choices are primarily responsible. Rather than assigning blame, the focus should be on cooperation. Enforcing strict building codes, preserving green spaces, and inclusive urban planning is vital.

Human-induced climate change worsens the situation, with emissions and industrialization intensifying extreme weather patterns globally. Shimla's heavy rains are linked to this trend. Neglect, unchecked urbanization, and environmental degradation make Shimla vulnerable, necessitating immediate action. Developing resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainability, enhancing disaster readiness, and aiding marginalized communities is essential.

The urgency to rectify the situation is clear. Only through collaborative efforts can Shimla's future be secured from the perils caused by human choices.

By Nidhi Kalta

Mrs. Nidhi Kalta, former Program Manager of Doers, had played a pivotal role in enhancing disaster preparedness in Himachal Pradesh, India. Mrs. Kalta's dedication and expertise have earned her accolades from both the communities she serves and key stakeholders within the state. Her expertise has been pivotal in domains such as Humanitarian Response, Basic Life Support, Psychosocial Care, ICT Tools, and Gender and disaster.