WETLAND DEGRADATION AND ITS IMPACT ON LIFE AND LIVELIHOOD OF PEOPLE IN THE MAJULI RIVER ISLAND, ASSAMRanjan Das and Jhimli Bhattacharjee
Wetland degradation is a major problem leading to serious livelihood crisis in rural, urban and suburban areas. Millions of people depend on these wetlands for their livelihood. Though there are number of studies on the causes and consequences of wetland degradation from the perspective of ecological and environmental sciences, there are very few sociological studies related to diverse dimensions of the problem. This research work selects to study the wetland degradation in Majuli, the biggest human inhabited river island in Asia, from a sociological perspective. Majuli which is the largest river island in the middle of the largest river of India, Brahmaputra, harbours around 155 wetlands of different size and shape, is found to suffer from degradation. The paper hence, highlights how wetland is a major life supporting system for the people in Majuli, describes the degradation of wetlands and the causes of such degradation and the impact it has on the life and livelihood of people. The paper is based on both primary and secondary sources of study, primarily dependent on qualitative methods of data collection from the field as in-depth interview, observation both participatory and non-participatory, etc. To gauge the impact certain historical method of data collection is also followed to have a comparative knowledge about the status of livelihood of people in the island.