The forest department organised a bird watching festival at Surajpur wetland for school students in Noida on the occasion of World Wetlands Day on February 2.
The purpose of the event, which was attended by the district magistrate, the commissioner of police, national cadet corps cadets and students from city schools, was to introduce students to various types of birds found in the city as well as increase awareness about conservation of wetlands. Forest officials said the theme of the event was ‘It’s time for wetland restoration’.
“Wetlands are an important habitat for several bird species, many insects and reptiles. It is important to conserve these watershed areas for the several benefits they provide to the overall environment,” said district magistrate Suhas LY.
Commissioner of police Laxmi Singh said the police department will provide support in managing encroachments on and around such areas.
There are more than 743 wetlands in Gautam Budh Nagar, according to the latest data collected by the forest department in 2015 through online mapping, and efforts are underway to preserve them, said officials. However, there were once 1,200 wetlands in the district, according to data, but many of these now have permanent encroachments over them.
“We regularly keep a track of these wetlands and ensure periodic cleaning. Some of these have been encroached upon. It is important that we continue awareness drives so that people know about the importance of keeping the wetlands clean and preserved,” said P K Srivastava, divisional forest officer.
However, birders and experts said such events are an eyewash if efforts are not made to conserve bird habitats such as wetlands.
“Wetland conservation is important but that does not mean cosmetic gardening. True conservation happens when nature is left undisturbed. The bird count at Okhla bird sanctuary has been reducing over the years,” said Vikrant Tongad, an environmentalist.