GUWAHATI- Region’s premier biodiversity conservation organisation, Aaranyak observed the World Wetlands Day (WWD) in Tilapara Kherpuji Senior Basic School, located near the Doloni Beel of Bongaigaon district of Assam.
The programme was jointly organised by the Aaranyak West Assam zone and the Aaranyak head office here in collaboration with the Tilapara Kherpuji Senior Basic School, Department of Botany of Abhayapuri College and Tilapara Milan Sangha, a local club.
The objective of celebrating the day was to sensitise the students, teachers, and the community of the area about the importance of conserving wetlands in tune with the theme of the WWD this year viz. Wetlands and Human Wellbeing.
An ‘Awareness Procession’ was taken out in the village road of Tilapara with participation of students, teachers, members of Aaranyak and local citizens. A drawing competition among students was held on the theme “Natural scenery of your locality”.
A Public Awareness Meeting was organised in the premises of the school where more than 200 students took part, besides a good number of women from local Shelf Help Groups from the village of Tilapara and Sankarghola, teachers of the school and local people. The meeting was presided over by Narayan Choudhury, the Headmaster of the School.
The inaugural speech was delivered by Dr Ashoke Kumar Das, Assistant Professor of Botany from Abhayapuri College and the Coordinator of Aaranyak West Assam Zone. He presented his lecture on the theme “Wetland and Human Wellbeing” and spoke briefly on the myriad values of wetlands for the lives of human society by elaborating the importance of wetlands as a source of water, food, livelihood, climate, culture, and biodiversity.
Dr Partha Jyoti Das, a reputed Environmental Scientist of Assam, and a senior scientist in Aaranyak, delivered his speech on the importance of Doloni Beel for food security and livelihoods of local people and appealed to the community and the students in particular to protect and preserve the Beel and its ecosystem.
Dr Das is leading a research project being carried out by Aaranyak on the Doloni Beel with support from the Assam Forest Department and GIZ-India under the Indo German Bilateral Cooperation project “Protection and Sustainable Management of Aquatic Resources in the North Eastern Himalayan Region of India (NERAQ).
Patricia Dorn, the Project Manager of NERAQ, GIZ India, who graced the occasion as a guest of honour, addressed the gathering and explained to the students about the need of keeping their environment clean and pollution free. She made an appeal to the students and the local people not to litter the Doloni wetland with plastic and polythene wastes.
On behalf of the Tilapara Milan Sangha, Monirut Zaman expressed his gratitude to Aaranyak for organising the World Wetlands Day in the Tilapara village, which was the first time that any such environmental awareness campaign was held in the village.
He also assured their support in efforts to save and conserve the Doloni Beel. Mofuduz Zaman Sarkar, an Assistant Teacher of the Tilapara Kherpuji Senior Basic School also addressed the meeting and conveyed his concerns about the ongoing environmental degradation in the locality around the Doloni Beel due to rampant industrial activities such as those due to the brick kilns.
Bouquets of some environmental publications of Aaranyak were gifted to the School, Milan Sangha and GIZ. The winners of the drawing competition received books as prizes from Patricia Dorn of GIZ-India. After the concluding remarks of the president of the meeting, Mr. Narayan Choudhury, the vote of thanks was given by Mr. Ankur Barman, Assistant Coordinator of Aaranyak’s West Zone.
The local collaborators appreciated Aaranyak for considering their area for organising the event on February 2 and asserted that the programme would go a long way in imbibing environmental consciousness in the people of the area in future.