Press on Environment and Wildlife
4 panels formed on wildlife preservation (February Week 1 (2006)) The Chandigarh Administration has formed four committees for preservation of wildlife to promote a mass movement towards respect for the wildlife, reports the Pioneer. The committees have been formed on a recommendation of the State Board for Wildlife.
One of the committees is on creation of awareness about forests, wildlife and environment among people, especially students.
The committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of the Home Secretary. Another committee has been constituted on Conservation of the Sukhna Lake and promotion of eco-tourism under the chairmanship of the Finance Secretary-cum-Secretary (Environment and Forests).
The committee on preservation of heritage trees hasthe Deputy Conservator of Forests-cum-Director Environment as chairman. The committee on the proposed Greater Shivalik National Park has been constituted under the chairmanship of the Secretary (Forests).
The committees will hold meetings and submit detailed recommendations to the Administration by April 30.
Forest Department begins raids to prevent bird poaching (February Week 1 (2006)) The Chennai Forest Department has begun conducting regular raids at several areas in the city to prevent water bird poaching, reports the New Indian Express. .
They have also kick-started an awareness campaign against eating water-bird meat as the threat of bird flu looms large because of the visit of migratory birds in the city.
According to Ashish Kumar Srivastav, City Wildlife Warden, the Wildlife Department officials conduct regular raids at Pallikkaranai, Avadi, Chembarambakkam, Tambaram and Neelangarai to prevent water-bird poaching.
These areas, with their proximity to water resources, attract migratory birds.
“We have received information about water-bird poaching in areas near Avadi. We had seized some dead night herons from Narikuravas (gypsies),” Srivastav said.
“Though there have been no cases of bird flu reported in this part of the world, we cannot rule out the possibility entirely. This season, we have had a heavy inflow of migratory birds in the bird sanctuaries in and around the city.
“So, there is a chance of our resident birds contracting infection from the migratory birds and eating their meat can spread the infection to human beings,” Srivastav said.
His Department would start an awareness campaign to educate the public about the dangers of eating water-bird meat in this context.
“Moreover, killing water-birds is also a criminal offence,” he pointed out.
He also appealed that the NGOs should also take up this issue and create awareness among people. According to sources in the Forest Department, poaching of water birds has gone up this season as the city and suburbs had received a huge population of water-birds because of the excellent rains.
They said the bird meat had been sold in the local market.
“It is difficult to stop poaching of water-birds. Bird hunting has been considered as the traditional occupation of the Narikuravas and many find this as their only source of livelihood.
“It is difficult to stop them merely citing the law. However, an awareness campaign highlighting the dangers of the bird flu and chances of infection through consumption of water-bird meat can bring a change,” another official from the Department said.
Stress on organic control of pests in farming (February Week 1 (2006)) A scientist from RRL, Jorhat, Dr Poran Baruah said it has become incumbent that organic means alone are adopted for the control of pests and weeds in the farmlands. The Assam Tribune reports him saying that globally, chemical pesticides worth Rs 11,500 crore are used each year and added that this is leaving behind harmful residues, that would affect humanity’s future generations.
Dr Baruah said that the chemical pesticides include DDT, which has lost its efficacy over the years, with pests developing resistance against the drug. “Initially, DDT was effective against 600 varieties of pests and insects, now the chemical is effective against only half a dozen varieties,” he said. He stressed on integrated management of pesticides and diseases as a viable alternative.
Dr Baruah was speaking as a special invitee at a commemorative function of a local NGO, Irab Kirab. The occasion was the birthday of the NGO’s founder, Late Popi Santana Bharali, and was held at the Sahityarathi Lakshminath Bezbaroa auditorium here on January 25. He said that the market today has evolved and currently, several brands of bio-pesticides are available for use by the agricultural community.
Another bane of modern day society, polythene bags and their haphazard disposal came up for discussion at the function, at the initiative of Dr Kalpana Deka Kalita. She spoke of the non-biodegradability of polythene and harped on the four ‘R’s while using plastic bags: Refuse, Reduce, Re-use and Re-cycle. She also enlightened the audience of the harmful effects of carrying foodstuff like raw vegetables, fish and meat in polythene bags. She claimed that the heat generated heat while carried in polythene bags, making the foodstuff potentially harmful for human consumption.
Irab Kirab’s director, Dr Ananda Bormudoi hoped that the outcome of the discussions would be fruitful for society, and the people at large would take to organic pest elimination and reduce the usage of polythene bags. He said Irab Kirab has begun a campaign against polythene bags in the city.
Changes in conservation project (February Week 1 (2006)) The methodology to implement biodiversity conservation and sustainable coastal management project of the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust will be changed, reports The Hindu.
Its Director V.K. Melkani said here on Monday that the trust had set up eco development committees in various coastal villages of Ramanathapuram and Tuticorin districts and started implementing the project.
But, it faced some difficulties due to lack of proper mechanism to execute the project in the field level and involve all stakeholders including fisheries, pollution and other departments.
So, it recently conducted a brainstorming session. Experts and representatives of various departments discussed the problems.
Sejalworha of World Wildlife Fund and Anil Bharadwaj of Wildlife Institute of India were asked to rewrite implementation part of the project.
They were expected to complete the task in a month.
Mr. Melkani said the UNDP's Global Environmental Facility had agreed to clear obstacles in implementing the project.
The basic aim and goal of the project would not be altered and the new report would clearly specify the works of all stakeholders.
The implementation of the project would gain momentum from March.
The project was started in 2002 at an estimate of Rs.140 crore. Of this, the GEF agreed to contribute Rs.40 crore in a phased manner.
While the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust spent Rs.2 crore in implementing the project so far, Rs.5 crores was spent on the pilot project.
Power Delhi from waste, President tells Govt (Issue of the week, January Week 3 (2006)) The Pioneer reports that President APJ Abdul Kalam has called on the Delhi Government to consider generating power from municipal waste, which will not only supplement the city's power supply, but also curb pollution.
Speaking at the inauguration of the two-day international conference on Environment-Awareness-Enforcement held under the aegis of the Asia Pacific Jurist Association (APJA), President Kalam said, "Higher growth in society proportionally increases pressure on environment."
Recounting the country's economic growth, he expressed concern over the depleting natural resources and increased dependence on non-renewable resources like coal, oil and gas. "I am encouraging the Delhi Government to produce energy from municipal solid waste."
"In 10-15 years from now," he said, "we can visualise that India and China's population may become half of that on the planet." Terming this as a moment of "colossal environmental challenge", the President expressed fears that hazardous gases and effluents released by industries would possibly be more than the cumulative estimate of poisonous gases released from all developing and developed world.
Such an alarming situation could only be countered if we begin to increasingly depend on renewable sources in the present moment.
Giving examples from various states, President Kalam emphasised on the importance of creating awareness and educating masses on serious environmental issues. "We have a collective responsibility towards nature and through our integrated participation we can help our institutions," he said.
Chief Justice YK Sabharwal, who spoke on the occasion, echoed the same sentiments. Stating that despite laws framed to protect environment there is a little thought given to preserving the nature and its resources for the future generations.
"While Article 21 of our Constitution grants Right to Life, the courts have interpreted within its ambit Right to Healthy Living and this includes ensuring a clean, green environment for every citizen," he said
"The judiciary is conscious of this aspect and bears this in mind. Every Friday, a special bench hears pressing matters pertaining to environment," he said.
UP wildlife authorities wake up to vanishing gharials (January Week 3 (2006)) The ecological balance of a river is largely dependent on the presence of predator and scavengers like crocodiles and other similar creatures. While crocodiles are largely found in the rivers of South India, the northern and eastern rivers in the country are solely dependent on gharials, a long-nosed relative of crocodiles that is purely riverine in its habitat, reports The Pioneer..
Lately, with an increase in pollution in the Ganga and the Yamuna rivers, the gharials have completely vanished from these rivers, which has made these rivers full of decomposing fishes and rotting bodies of animals and humans to further pollute these rivers.
Now, in an effort to restore the ecological balance of the rivers in Uttar Pradesh, the Wildlife Authorities of the State are planning to introduce gharials, also called Gavialis Gangeticus, in the rivers.
A group of 56 gharials, brought from the Kukrail wildlife park in Lucknow were released by the wildlife authorities in the Chambal river near Pinahat in Agra on Friday as a step towards the rehabilitation of gharials in the river and to promote breeding of this reptilian creature in the river.
Talking to The Pioneer, KK Singh, Divisional Forest Officer (Wildlife), Chambal Range said that the Chambal wildlife sanctuary was a 180 km stretch of river passing through Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and being an unpolluted river flowing away from the urban population, it was the best location for the crocodilian species to breed and a number of other aquatic creatures like Gangetic dolphins and turtles, of which, atleast eight species were living in the river, almost all of whom were carnivorous, that helped in preservation of aqu-atic equilibrium in the river.
He said that the population of crocodiles in almost all the rivers of UP had decreased in the past few decades but in contrast to the other rivers, Chambal had a high concentration of crocodiles and adding more of this species in the river would ensure that some of these species move over to the Yamuna and other rivers connected to the Chambal river. He said that the gharials that had been released in the Chambal had been collected from the Chambal river in the form of eggs that were later hatched in the Kukrail Park at Lucknow and raised till the age of 4-6 years before they were finally rehabilitated.
He said that at present, there were atleast 3,000 gharials and almost 1,000 "Muggers" (Crocodylus Palustris) living in the Chambal river that had reproduced rapidly after the beginning of the Chambal National Park project in 1979. He said that the reason for collecting eggs of crocodiles from the river was to ensure the maximum hatching of the eggs through artificial incubation at the Kukrail Park in Lucknow as the crocodiles were listed in the first schedule of Wildlife Conservation Act 1972, as an endangered species and it was only through human interference in their breeding cycle that they had been able to regain their numbers in the polluted rivers of North India.
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