Revive dying Yamuna wetlands to purify water: Experts

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NEW DELHI: Once a desolate spot, Yamuna Biodiversity Park has now become a favourite haunt of bird-watchers. The park has been welcoming hundreds of migratory birds from Siberia, Europe and the Himalayas every year, but this year, hundreds of Red-crested Pochards have been sighted in the park. Scientists credit the successful restoration of the ecosystem for it. On World Wetland Day on Sunday, environmentalists sought that the government invest in converting wasteland near the river into wetland, and revive dying wetlands in the city.

In the park, scientists have restored close to 20 forest communities, which exist along the Yamuna in other parts of the country. “Our aim was to restore the ecological system. We have restored wetlands near the Yamuna in Wazirabad. This is the only park which gets Red-crested Pochard-a Siberian bird-during winter. Recently, we spotted more than 200 of these birds in the park,” said Dr Faiyaz A Khudsar, scientist-in-charge at the park.

Experts say wetlands help improve the quality of water in rivers as they are a highly productive ecosystem. Wetlands act like a nursery for rivers. “The objective of creating or restoring wetland is to keep a substantial amount of flood water. These wetlands, which have different types of forests, insects, fish etc, can purify sewer water before it mixes with the river,” said Khudsar.

This year’s theme for World Wetland Day is ‘wetland and agriculture’. The soil here is very productive and should be used for agricultural purpose, said an expert. “But before that we need to restore wetlands in the city. Once the old ecosystem is put in place, then the land can be used for agricultural purpose,” added Khudsar.

There are several wetlands in Bhalaswa and Usmanpur which are in a state of neglect. “If we want to clean the river, then it is important to restore wetlands in the city,” said an environmentalist.


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