Realising the importance of wetland conservation for ecological balance, the Gujarat Ecology Commission (GEC) has decided to launch an extensive drive to train locals across all districts in conserving and rejuvenating traditional wetlands.
Large areas of Gujarat like Saurashtra, Kutch and North Gujarat are considered to be scarcity prone due to meagre rains, but still the state has a large number of wetlands where wide range of flora and fauna are found. They are also home to thousands of migratory birds coming to the state in winter.
“Gujarat has many wetlands. Government has been trying to save those so that our ecology can also be saved. To make people participate in the conservation, GEC has launched his drive,” Gujarat Ecology Commission (GEC) member secretary A K Verma said.
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“We will train people to conserve and rejuvenate the traditional wetlands. This will also inspire them to save water in their house or at their work-place,” said Verma who is also a coordinator of the wetlands conservation drive.
Nalsarovar near Sanand town, Thol lake area of Ahmedabad district, Southern Gulf of Kutch, Gulf of Khambhat, Jamnagar Mangroves area, Golf reef area of Kutch, Dharoi dam area of Mahesana district, Ukai reservoir of Tapi districts are the most important wetlands of Gujarat, acknowledged by the Centre.
As per the survey of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Wetlands in Gujarat apart from those important wetland areas, 18 per cent area of the entire state, which adds to 1,50,174 sq km land are included in wetland category.
There are approximately 23,900 wetlands in Gujarat, which comprises coastal, inland and small wetlands, it said.
The government also believes that wetland conservation training will not only solve the issues of water-scarcity but also improve tourism in the state as many water bodies are home to rare birds, animals and amphibians.
The GEC had earlier launched a pilot project to train people living in and around such areas. “In the pilot phase, we have trained 1500 locals in remote villages which falls under the wetland category,” Verma said.
“The idea germinated from the Green Gujarat initiative.
Wetlands constitute a vital link in the hydrological cycle.
They provide a multitude of services such as purification and regulation of flows, fisheries, habitat provisioning to plants, animals and micro-organisms, providing opportunities for recreation and tourism,” Verma said.
“Though we are now focusing upon the issues of conservation, but it cannot be denied that this project will also give various bye-products. If we train the people to conserve water before rain it can be used for irrigation purpose during the Rabi season,” he said.
On pilot basis, the campaign has completed 30 training sessions in Anand, Mehsana, Kheda and Banaskantha districts.
Now it will be taken ahead to all the districts.
Speaking about the training programme Verma said, “We use various media like literature, play and audio-visual presentation. We will also hold interactive sessions in the village Chaupal to sensitise people regarding water conservation and wetland management.”
As election dates will be declared shortly, the programme will be run in mission mode to reach out to people and make them aware about the initiatives taken by the Gujarat government so far.