Earthwatch launches Project at Kolkata
Earthwatch, in association with its local partner organisation-Nature Environment and Wildlife Society (NEWS) recently launched its project in Kolkata with the enthusiastic participation of 15 volunteers from HSBC who conducted field research and learnt about the specific and unique environment of the East Kolkata Wetlands, a designated Ramsar Site.
The East Kolkata Wetlands is a multifunctional wetland ecosystem comprising of around sewage fed fisheries, small agricultural plots and solid waste farms. This is one of the largest waste water fed aqua culture system, besides being the source of oxygen for millions living in Kolkata and is thus rightly called ‘the lungs of Kolkata’ besides providing livelihood for a wide cross section of people through fishing, rag-picking, eco-tourism among others besides serving the huge urban population of Kolkata with a cheap, efficient and eco-friendly system of solid waste and sewer treatment system, habitat for a large flora and fauna and several migratory and resident birds.
Dr. Sujit Chakraborty, a scientist and member of the Special Survival Commission, explained to the team the importance of this endemic specie and the threats it faces from the loss of habitats, poaching and improper management of the ecosystem. The teams were also presented with an explanation about the history and distinctiveness of that environment by Dr. Somnath Bhatacharjee (Senior Scientist of Indian Institute of Environment and Wetland Management). Earthwatch Institute India was represented at this launch by its Country Director Mr. Raghuvansh Saxena.
The team was also accompanied by Sri Kalo Mal, who was once a bird trapper and now turned into a conservationist helped in spotting and identifying the birds with his traditional knowledge of birds and astonishingly realistic bird calls, kept the team excited and eager throughout the expedition.
With all information and knowledge gathered, the volunteers had an interactive session with local fishermen to understand their needs and dependence on the wetlands for their livelihood.