NEW DELHI: The urban wetlands in the national capital are shrinking, degrading, disappearing, and dying due to extreme human intervention, misuse or overuse of natural resources, pollution, and modern entertainment activities, finds the Asian Waterbird Census 2021 conducted by Wetlands International.
“The three urban wetlands in the city as National Zoological Park wetlands, Sanjay Lake and Yamuna river are degrading, shrinking, dying and losing the natural ecology & biodiversity for sustenance due to lack of ecological conservation and sustainable management by government,” said TK Roy, Ecologist, conservationist, AWC Delhi State Coordinator.
The National Zoological Park i.e. the Delhi zoo has a cluster of four smaller wetlands. These used to be a rich habitat for several species of resident as well migratory waterbirds from central and north Asia including the Siberian region for years. The near-threatened species Painted Stork used to arrive here in the monsoon for exclusive breeding. Now, these smaller wetlands have been turned into artificial wetlands lacking ecology and shrinking. As a result, the waterbird diversity is down with hardly any migratory species and a lesser number of Painted Storks arrival, stated the report.
While last year there were 21 species and the population was 690, this year there are 871 birds of only 18 species. Sanjay Lake, a natural wetland in the heart of east Delhi, used to be good habitat for waterbirds. It is now turned into small sewage polluted artificial concreted lake just for public entertainment and commercial activities under DDA.
Yamuna’s riverine wetland used to be a rich natural habitat for several aquatic animal species including waterbirds. It has now turned into a polluted sewage-fed black stream, shrinking where public throw garbage and do illegal seasonal veg cultivation on the dry banks, the report said.
What is Asian Waterbird Census?
The Asian Waterbird Census takes place every January. This event is a part of the global International Waterbird Census that supports the conservation and management of wetlands and waterbirds worldwide