GUWAHATI- Research-oriented biodiversity conservation organisation, Aaranyak today observed World Wetlands Day, and organised various awareness programmes in several parts of Assam to spread awareness on wetlands and its impotance.
Aaranyak and Kaziranga National Park (KNP) jointly celebrated World Wetlands Day on the bank of Potahi Beel in Burapahar Range. About 90 students from four schools participated in the programme. They were taken on a nature walk in the bank of the wetland and interacted with the DFO of Eastern Assam Wildlife Division, Ramesh Kumar Gogoi, honorary wildlife warden Uttam Saikia, range officers Bidyut Bikash Gogoi, Bibhuti Ranjan Gogoi and Bibit Dihingia of Ogoratoli, Kohora and Bagori ranges respectively. Two researchers from Wildlife Institute of India Manisha Ashraf and Priyanka Bora also participated in the interaction. Two forest officials from Burapahar Range of the KNP, Jukti Bora and Medini Gogoi also participated in the proramme, according to Aaranyak’s official Arif Hussain.
The NGO organised an awareness programme at Barjuli Village near Doloni beel of Bongaigaon district. A drawing competition was held on February 1 in 4 different lower primary schools near the Doloni beel namely Sankarghola LP School, Manikjhora LP School, Barjuli LP School and Islampur LP school. A public meeting cum awareness programme was also organised today at Barjuli village, where the Deputy Commissioner and several government officials were invited. A pamphlet on Wetland of Bongaigaon was also released and distributed in the programme.
“Aaranyak is going to conduct a research-based pilot intervention in the Doloni beel of Bongaigaon district for conservation and sustainable management of wetlands for livelihood security and climate resilience in association with the Aie Valley Forest Division, Abhayapuri College’s Botany department, Eco Club, Environment & Climate Cell of Abhayapuri College,” Dr Partha Jyoti Das, senior environmental scientist and head of Aaranyak’s Water, Climate, and Hazards Division stated.
A wetland day event at Eastern Range, Kachugaon Forest Division of Raimona National Park was organised by Aaranyak in collaboration with the national park authority and local conservation organisations. A plantation drive was held followed by a public address delivered by Dr Dipankar Lahkar, senior conservationist from Aaranyak where about 70 students participated. Bhanu Sinha, DFO of Kachugaon Forest Division also attended the programme and delivered a talk on wetland restoration. A drawing and a quiz content was also organised for the students.
Another event with the theme ‘Youth Engagement in Conservation and Restoration of Wetlands’ was held at the Gauhati University with a field trip to Silsako and Khamranga beel. The event was organised in collaboration with Department of Environmental Science, Gauhati University and Assam Forest Department, Guwahati Range, Kamrup East Division. A total of 28 youths, local villagers near Silsako and Khamranga beel attended the programme along with personnel from forest department.
World Wetlands Day is celebrated annually on February 2 with the aim to create awareness on the vital role wetlands play for people and the planet. The proposal for the convention on wetlands was first made on February 2, 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar. Wetlands are parts of the earth where the soil is covered with water. They support both terrestrial and aquatic species.
Wetlands are home to around 40% of the world’s species. Besides, these are crucial for generating livelihoods and providing excellent ecosystem services. Wetlands also act as good carbon sinks, help mitigate adverse climate effect and act as sponges against rainfall and flooding. These water bodies filter and boost water supply. Wetlands can also boost ecotourism, provide place for relaxation thereby enhance people’s wellbeing.