Ban plastic to save the heritage of world's oldest and largest inhabited river island | 7/10/2018 | Staff
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A Queen's University Belfast researcher is working with an Indian community to transform the world's largest and oldest inhabited river island into a plastic-free zone, in a bid to save its heritage.

Dr. M. Satish Kumar, who is originally from Shillong, North East India, has been leading an international project 'Hidden Heritage in Majuli' with researchers from California, Belfast and India, Delhi, Varanasi and Kolkata to examine how climate change is transforming their landscape.

Majuli - Brahmaputra - River - State - Assam

Majuli lies in the Brahmaputra River, in the remote state of Assam, north-east India. Looking at how the island's inhabitants have battled against extreme weather and through cutting edge-environmental, social sciences and humanities framework, Dr. Kumar's team have come up with new approaches to protect the island's culture and heritage.

Dr. Kumar explains: "While it is the largest inhabited river in the world, Majuli has shrunk by half over the last 100 years due to climate change, rising water levels and earthquake impact. In the mid-19th century, Majuli was about 1,200 sq km in area; now it is barely 400 sq km.

Island - Culture - History - Changes - Climate

"The island has a very rich culture and history and due to the significant changes to the climate regime, its people have learned to adapt their lifestyle to suit the river, building their houses on stilts and moving when required. There used to be around 70 monasteries called 'Sattras' in Majuli but due to the island shrinking, there are now 22."

Through the project, which was set up to address the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Dr. Kumar's team provided specific scientific evidence and analysis to the key stakeholders of Majuli so that they...
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