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Experts mull regional information network for South Asia

India: Efforts should be made to kickstart a South Asia Regional Information Network (SARIN) through contributory satellites at national and international level.

This was suggested at a three-day international regional scientists” conference on land cover and land use changes, organised by NASA.

Such a network would help the participating countries, particularly SAARC nations to identify various problems being faced in the region, particularly river, mountains and forest areas shared by them and find out amicable solutions, said E J James, Vice-Chancellor, Karunya University, the joint organisers of the programme recently.

For instance, the Ganges, which flows through India and Bangladesh, has many problems during its smooth flow, due to stagnation of sediments, erosion at various places. This could be identified through remote sensing by both the countries and the data can be exchanged to clear the pathway, James said.

Similarly there are rivers like Indus, Brahmaputra, which are crossing the borders of India, Pakistan and also China and the glaciers of Himalayas, he said, adding that once a network is created it would help the countries to solve the problems, which would also help to promote other activities like agriculture, leading to food security.

“SARIN establishment is for carrying out data dissemination, collection and analysis for the benefit of the participating countries, by sharing the data within and outside, which include socio-economic data,” James said.

Brent Holben, a scientist in NASA, said that it was planned to establish an Aeronet Station at the University to study the atmospheric changes in Western Ghats and Southern India, involving local scientists.

Stating that four such stations were already functioning in Pune, Kanpur and Jaipur, Holben said that NASA would be installing the nearly USD 40,000 equipment for the station, which would be first of kind in South India.

Besides observing the air quality in the area, it would help detecting aerosols, created by the industrial and agricultural wastes and find solutions, he said.

Source: The Hindu