Nature enthusiasts flocking to the citys beaches with Flamingos: future tense? printed on their T-shirts and cameras would have made for an interesting picture.
However,they were in fact photographers and the objective to spread awareness about the threat to flamingo habitats and beaches in Mumbai.
Around 225 people,belonging to different age groups,took part in Fotothon a real-time photography competition,where every participant got 24 hours to capture and submit their photographs on an environment-based theme. The competition began around noon Saturday with an inaugural function at Maharashtra Nature Park (MNP) in Dharavi.
The theme for this year was Beauty and the beach. Images and words are a strong combination to bring about change. Through this photo and caption competition,which was launched in 2011,we are trying to increase awareness on the need to preserve the flamingos habitat, said Paresh Pimpale,founder of Fotothon.
There has been an increase in the number of women participating in the event. Around 25 per cent of the participants this year were women.
Five participants with the best 30-word captions to their photographs will win Rs 20,000 each and will be awarded a certificate by the Chief Minister on World Environment Day,June 5,2014.
Students of Valmiki Eco-School,Goregaon,enacted a play on the conservation of flamingos. The event was organised by NGO Ecofolks,in association with MNP and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board.
It is a thrilling experience and a challenge to find the perfect picture. I chose to highlight the dire conditions of Mahim beach,where there seems to be less sand and more plastic, said Suresh Tarkar,a participant.
The best photographs will adorn the walls of school and colleges in Mumbai,Pune,Aurangabad,Kolhapur,Nashik and Nagpur and the KalaGhoda festival,said Pimpale.People associate beaches only with sandy shores. But we should also conserve beaches where flamingos spend winters and highlight the condition of our beaches through such events, said Avinash Kubal,deputy director,MNP.
Ecofolks will launch a signature petition campaign in January to urge authorities to save flamingo habitats and declare the mudflats at Sewri a mangrove sanctuary.
The NGO will send the petition to MPCB and the Chief Minister on June 5 next year.