Scientists, students visit Hokersar, discuss emerging challenges of Valley wetlands
SRINAGAR: The SKUAST Faculty of Fisheries Ganderbal on Tuesday commemorated World Wetlands Day with experts and students from the faculty interacting here with officials from Wetland division at Ramsar protected Hokersar wetland site.
While the officials at the wetland apprised the faculty members and budding scientists about the efforts that are being made to protect wetlands in the valley apart from the challenges they have been facing in safeguarding these ecological assets.
The officials explained that while large scale sedimentation has always remained a challenge for them, influx of solid waste into wetlands is a serious concern and needs more attention from experts as it has led to deterioration of water quality.
While talking about the importance of wetlands Wildlife Warden Wetlands, Ifshan Dewan said that the notion of wetlands being wastelands has to changed significantly and apart from community, it is the scientific fraternity along with departement that as whole that has to redouble its efforts to protect the fragile ecology of wetlands.
She said that the department has succeeded in demarcating the boundaries of Hokersar and they are hopeful of addressing other issues. She called upon the students to develop interest in migratory waterfowl that land up in the valley September onwards and leave by March, with 10 lakh of these winged visitors arriving in Valley wetlands this year .
She said that there is a need for the faculty scientist in safeguarding and scientifically developing the aquatic habitats here.
Dr Adnan Abubakr, Head, Division of Aquatic Environmental Management at faculty who coordinated the programme that is being sponsored by the JK State Science Technology and Innovation ,Department of Science and Technology told Kashmir Reader that the aim holding this event at Hokersar was to let students have a first hand experience of challenges being faced by wetlands and majors needed to protecting them.
He said that wetlands not only support several bird species but fish too are an integral part of such a system and students in future can work on solutions for sustainable development of fragile wetlands.
Range officer at Hokersar Suhail Yousuf said that quantum of solid waste going into the wetland is a main reason for deteriorating water quality.
About some of the fish species existing earlier found in this wetland vanishing, he said there is scope for further research on safeguarding what remains presently.
He said that even though this year more birds were attracted to the wetland , they had great difficulty in managing water levels in the wetland owing to delay in construction of recommended control gates at the designated points to maintain sufficient water in this important wetland.
He hoped that given their recent proposal to authorities they are hopeful that the influx of effluents, discharged directly into the wetland may stop.
Block officer at the wetland GN Baba while interacting with students said that community level involvement is critical in safeguarding wetlands.
He explained that at ground level they face challenges in confronting people who dump waste in the wetland or resort to encroachments.
He asked the students that in their research they too will face such challenges, but have to overcome work hard for the betterment of society.
The programme was attended by Dr Tasaduq Hussain Shah along with Dr Rizwan Malik besides many of the faculty officials and students.
The two day event will conclude today with the faculty holding a painting competition at its Campus Rangil today on the theme “Wetlands Action for People and Nature”.