Give tryst a chance : Shrinking biodiversity and environmental degradation

Lt Col Aribam Bhogendra Sharma (Retd) *

 Tree plantation by Journalists as part of World Environment Day  at Cheiraoching, Thangmeiband :: 5th June 2019
Tree plantation by Journalists on World Environment Day at Cheiraoching on 5th June 2019 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam

After a long sabbatical of three months, coming back with a vast and complex subject of vanishing florae and faunae. Manipur has been endowed richly by mother nature. Variety of species, rare and common alike, were found in plenty six –seven decades ago.

In the present scenario, it is very hard to see a single wild variety of animals in the forests/areas where the species used to roam free. It is doubtful that even the common birds and animals inhabited in the villages, will remain so for long . Their numbers have been visibly trudging towards extinction.

Due to various reasons, we have no power to prevent arrival of the unfavourable climatic conditions. We are aware that during-3000 BC-5000 BC a well flourished community, and well executed settlement complex known as Indus Valley civilization at Sindh valley was found deserted completely because of drought like conditions for almost a century.

Out of four elements viz Earth, Air, Water and Fire for living, water holds the key for human settlement, flora and fauna. All the early civilizations viz Eygptian, Middle East, Indian, Chinese and Mayan flourished on the river banks. Many civilizations/settlements were found abandoned due to the change of river course also.

The entire world's communities, nowadays, are so deeply concerned with the conservation of water. The trees and green environment is a must for water and vice versa. Therefore, we have to create conditions for sustainability of water so that all the species and plants remain active and green. The ratio between human beings and trees for viable sustainability is one human being to nine trees.

The planet Earth lost 68% of its biodiversity species population in the last 5 decades. Freshwater species viz fish, mammals, reptiles and amphibians went down by almost 80% meaning total extinction in the near future unless we, human beings, together put a sincere effort. Though not sounding an apocalyptic warning but must accept its seriousness honestly.

No doubt, far from being ignoramus, we see efforts being made to preserve various species on the earth where possible. The High Court and the Supreme Court have concurred to preserve the Mudumalai Reserve Forest area falling in the elephant corridor in the Nilgiris Hills, Tamil Nadu.

In this elephant corridor, there are 39 resorts with more than 300 buildings . These buildings/resorts on the Sigur plateau, prevents elephants to move to and fro Eastern –Western Ghats on their nomadic mode looking for plants to sustain. Hence, the Supreme Court has directed eviction of these buildings/resorts.

The importance of trees/plants to sustain various species on the Earth including human beings are being placed above all. Another example of humility shown by a great engineer architect Mr Stefano Boeri in 2014 known as “ Milan Bosco Verticale”. These vertical forests on two towers host 780 trees, 11000 plants and 5000 shrubs is nothing but an architectural engineering marvel.

I have a prioritized list of projects for bringing back to life fresh water bodies and rivulet of fresh water for use by the community. These projects will be discussed in the articles/editions to follow.

Keeping these projects veiled for the time being, we proceed towards individual/family’s desirable efforts for preservation/conservation/harvesting of fresh water. For sure, so much of avoidable wastage of water on our daily domestic routine works are being carried on for generations uncared for.

All the important mass movements should normally start from home. These vicissitudes shall be possible to bear out if, generations both young and old, get involved with heart and soul in the work ethics. To start with, the following wastage should be tackled first individually at home .

A. Bathing : Not allowing the outflow of water to the drain, possibly advised bathing in a big tub.Water so conserved could be used for the early stage of washing clothes or other as considered suitable.

B. Washing of clothes : As discussed above, water to be reused except for the final wash.

C. Cleaning and washing of utensils : Gushing out tap water should be controlled . Allow water flow based on utensils/items to be washed.

D. Waste water from RO AQUA filters : Waste water from RO AQUA filters should be kept in buckets for reuse probably in the gardens or anywhere else considered suitable.

E. Left over water : Left over water considered unfit for reuse should not be thrown in the nala /gutters but on the ground /soil uncovered with hard metal, thus, allowing the water to be absorbed and go underground.

F. Rain water harvesting: Rain water harvesting and creation of small ponds from collected/harvested rain water to suit the existing housing complex are advised . The Country and Town Planners should issue strict instructions for rain water harvesting. Design/model suitably modified be shown and demonstrated to all to follow up. Disciplinary action considered suitable be taken accordingly against those non compliant residents.

G. Plantation of Trees : Multilateral collective movement on planting of trees as many as possible be initiated during the “Vanmahosav” week in July.

There are many other ways and means not spelt out above to save water and vegetations, we are free to choose any keeping main aim focused on saving water and helping an environmentally balanced ecosystem.

Though I am not expecting to see turning the tide so soon as Manipur is considerably a poor State economically and every one has to eke out their living which is most important. But, the time has come now or never, to ruminate putting our heads together over heels, find a consensus approach towards helping Mother Nature in attaining sustainable status.

Dear Friends, I am not at all an aficionado for saving mother Earth from devastation nor suggest any ramrod ding methodology to cleanse. But, consider something universally cognizant, to adopt or follow as rewards to Nature for what she has given us to enjoy.

Don’t we consider, even as parents, to leave enough knowledge and assets for our children to live after we are gone and children, in return, try to please your departed soul to rest in peace. If we are not readily prepared to do this much, don’t become rigidly immutable and I suggest to give a cool thought again and decide.

Expecting to see you dear readers again in the next edition i.e. January 2021. Before I leave , I beseech you with folded hands to start something to contribute towards the movement .

Till then bye !

* Lt Col Aribam Bhogendra Sharma (Retd) wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on 27th October 2020.

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