WWD appeal in India

28/01/1998

[reprinted from the il-environment@unv.ernet.in mailing list in India, and contributed by Bittu Sahgal of Sanctuary Magazine. -- Web Editor]

Wetlands in Peril

Message from the The Ramsar Convention on World Wetlands Day, February 2, 1998:

"Take a litre of water - with an eyedropper pick up one drop and place it in your open hand by the litre container. That precious, fragile drop taken from the litre is, in proportion to the world's water, all the freshwater available for human use, for the maintenance of optimal levels of populations of all freshwater and terrestrial species, and for ensuring the proper functioning of the freshwater systems in our Blue Planet. So full of water, so short of it!"

In India, what with the Nawab of Pataudi and Sharmila Tagore joining hands with the C.M.of J&K, Farouq Abdullah, to slaughter birds at Hokarsar, and Tata Tea Co. and their compatriots conspiring to poison wetlands such as Kaziranga with organochlorines from their tea estates... and over 20 Indian Members of Parliament personally making fortunes out of Prawn Farms that are consuming wetlands... the wetlands of India seem to stand no chance at all. It’s time ornithologists and bird lovers came together in defence of wetlands and World Wetlands Day is as good a time as any to start.

Those of you who write could perhaps bring the fate of wetlands close to you to the notice of others through the press. Others may wish to write in defence of wetlands to local authorities and still others could take groups out to wetlands to inspire people and share both knowledge and wonder. Whatever . . . do something because if a lot of us do a little, a lot gets done. The Bombay Natural History Society, incidentally, has called for a meeting of members at Hornbill House, Mumbai, at 6 p.m. on February 2, 1998 to discuss the status and strategies to protect India's wetlands.

If you have access to the Web I would recommend a visit to the Ramsar site at: http://iucn.org/themes/ramsar/w.n.html

Bittu Sahgal, Editor,
Sanctuary Magazine,
602, Maker Chambers V,
Nariman Point, Mumbai 400 021

Fax: 022-2874380, email:bittu@giasbm01.vsnl.net.in

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