Jammu: The Department of Wildlife Protection in collaboration with University of Jammu organized a programme to mark celebration of World Wetland Day at Mansar here today.
The programme started with nature walk around the Mansar Lake which was participated by officers of various wings of Forest Department, Surinsar–Mansar Development Authority, faculty members, scholars, students from University of Jammu, Sarpanchs and Panchs of local panchayats, representatives from NGOs, prominent citizens and students.
Chairman, J&K Pollution Control Board, Suresh Chugh, who was chief guest on the occasion, led the nature walk.
The event also exhibited special fishes, snakes, turtles present in the Surinsar-Mansar lake ecosystem, through different stalls besides displaying tools and equipments being used for man-animal conflicts.
Meanwhile, Surinsar-Mansar Development Authority presented the “Surinsar-Mansar Tourism Master Plan” for knowledge of general public. Besides, the bird biodiversity was also showcased in the stalls established by University of Jammu and Himalayan Avian (NGO).
Suresh Chugh, educated the public about various threats posed to the wetland ecosystem in terms of pollution, invasion of alien species, loss of biodiversity etc. He also drew people’s attention towards various restoration measures such as sewerage treatment, prevention of hunting, conservation of biodiversity through public participation.
Chief Wildlife Warden, J&K, Suresh Kumar Gupta, highlighted the importance of wetlands and various measures being taken up for their protection and conservation.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and HoFF, Dr. Mohit Gera, who was guest of honour on the occasion, spoke on impact of forests, farming, livelihood practices on fragile ecosystem of wetlands besides emphasizing the need for integrated approach such as catchment area treatment and plantation for holistic restoration of wetlands.
Experts from University of Jammu, Anil Raina, Professor Raj Kumar Rampal, Professor Piyush, Dr. Deepika Salathia and Dr. Neeraj Sharma also enlightened the participants about bio-physical properties of water, rejuvenation of water quality and aquatic birds.
Sarpanchs, Panchs and prominent citizens including women also spoke on the occasion.
Later, “Water Birds of J&K- an e-Guide” prepared by Dr. Neeraj Sharma and his colleagues was released.
Further, to prevent plastic pollution, biodiversity loss and choking of wetlands, the Department of Wildlife Protection under eco-development initiatives distributed cloth bags among the public of Surinsar-Mansar panchyats through their Sarpanchs.
The programme was conducted by Vijay Kumar Verma, Wildlife Warden and vote of thanks was presented by Dr. Kumar M.K, Regional Wildlife Warden, Jammu.
The programme was attended by Asif Sagar, Director, State Forest Research Institute, J&K, J. Frankoi, Director, Forest Protection Force, J&K, B.M. Sharma, Member Secretary, J&K Pollution Control Board, K. Ramesh Kumar, Chief Conservator of Forests, Jammu, Madam Shally Ranjan, Chief Conservator of Forests (S&D), Senior Conservators, Faculty and staff of various wings of the Forest Department.