Nature's Narrative Vol. 4(I)
Indian Agricultural Update
Naturally-colored cotton from India could help reduce the environmental pollution caused by dyes
After more than three decades of research, an Indian variety of colored cotton may be commercially released by 2021. A decision will be taken once the last phase of the agronomy trials is over by next year. The final stage of the trials will end by April 2021 and a few promising seeds will be proposed for commercial release by a committee chaired by the deputy director-general of crop science, according to AH Prakash, project coordinator of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research-All India Coordinated Research Project on Cotton.
As color dyes pollute more water bodies and damage the environment, the search for fabric that is naturally colored and can be grown organically (as cotton uses a lot of pesticides) has gained momentum.
Indian Wetlands Update
A citizen’s movement to protect wetlands emerges in Jammu and Kashmir
Around 25 teams of citizens across Jammu & Kashmir have spurred into action over the past few months, cleaning water bodies in their neighborhoods – from Dal lake, freshwater springs at Verinag, Chatlam wetlands and even Kausar Nag at an altitude of 13,0000 feet above sea level. Tariq A. Patloo, Jannat and Nadeem Qadri from Kashmir are trying to protect the state’s wetlands and inspire others to join the movement. With, both technical expertise and legal guidance, the Jammu & Kashmir Eco Watch is running this initiative which aims at the participation of local communities in conserving their regional water bodies and wetlands.
They said that “in the past farmers traditionally would make a passage (known as Vyen Kadun in Kashmiri) in the peatland to enable the water to flow out to the Jhelum with ease. This kept the water from flooding the neighbouring farms. With urbanisation, this process died out. “We feel that this could have been a good flood mitigation strategy for the peat or wetlands,” they added.
Indian Pollution Update
Despite drop in emissions, India still world’s highest sulphur dioxide producer
For the first time in four years India’s sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions recorded a significant decline of approximately 6% in 2019 compared to 2018, the steepest drop in four years, according to a report from Greenpeace India and the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA). However, India continues to occupy the top spot among emitters for the fifth consecutive year. The report ranks the world’s biggest emitters of SO2, a poisonous air pollutant that increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and premature death.
In 2019, India emitted 21% of global anthropogenic (human-made) SO2 emissions — or about 5,953 kilotons a year — nearly double that of second-ranked global emitter, Russia at 3,362 kt/year. China occupied the third position at 2,156 kt per annum. As per the report, the biggest emission hotspots in India, are thermal power stations (or clusters of power stations) at Singrauli, Neyveli, Sipat, Mundra, Korba, Bonda, Tamnar, Talcher, Jharsuguda, Kutch, Surat, Chennai, Ramagundam, Chandrapur, Visakhapatnam and Koradi.
Indian Animal Protection Update
Migratory openbill storks find safe haven in Andhra village
Telukunchi village’s community in Andhra Pradesh welcomes Asian openbill storks every monsoon in the hope of good rains and prosperity. The community has framed rules to punish those who harm the birds. Telukunchi village’s community in Andhra Pradesh welcomes Asian openbill storks every monsoon in the hope of good rains and prosperity. The birds, considered local migrants that move within India, are lured by the vast wetlands in the Srikakulam district of the state along the Bay of Bengal.
India’s National Action Plan (NAP) for Conservation of Migratory Birds and their Habitats along Central Asian Flyway (2018-2023) lists the Asian openbill stork as one of the known 171waterbird species that use the Flyway region in India. Wetlands act as ecological connections in the flyway.
Bodh fish, the ‘Shark of Bastar’ threatened by a proposed hydropower project
The proposed Bodhghat Pariyojana, a hydropower project aimed at irrigating farmlands in the entire Bastar division comprising seven districts, may affect the fish habitat. The near-threatened Bodh fish (Bagarius yarrelli), found in the Indravati river in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh, faces a crisis due to indiscriminate hunting. The fish, popularly known as the “shark of Bastar,” is worshipped by tribal communities like the Marias and the Gonds.
The Bodh fish, found in the Indravati river in Chhattisgarh, is 2 to 2.3 metres or more in length and can weigh up to 250 kg at maximum size. The fish is one of the largest freshwater catfishes in South Asia, belonging to the family Sisoridae. It is found across the rivers of north and central India.
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