Celebrations in Western Himalaya
Jammu and Kashmir: CEE observed World Wetlands Day at village Hayatpora, Block Manjakote, District Rajouri, Jammu & Kashmir, India. The village Hayatpora is located 35km away from Rajouri city and is blessed with dense with forests and profound natural resources. CEE Himalaya was the first organisation to conduct any event on environment, climate change and sustainable mountain development.
The event witnessed participation from 60 students and 10 teachers. Apart from the participants, the event was graced by Mr. Rashid Khan, Block Development Officer (BDO), Manjakote. Mr. Riyaz Mir from CEE Himalaya Team familiarised the participants about wetlands and the significance of World Wetlands Day. Since the theme for 2017 was Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction, the role of wetlands in mitigating the impacts of disasters was presented before the participants. Quoting the examples of Dal Lake and Wular Lake located in J&K, Mr.Riyaz highlighted the importance of wetlands in sustaining lives and livelihoods of people of J&K.
Painting and speech competition were conducted for students on various thematic areas associated with wetlands such as conservation, livelihood, disasters, recreation etc. Saleema Akthar, student of class 10 th and Abdul Fakeer, student of class 9 th won the painting and speech competitions respectively.
Chief Guest, Mr. Rashid Khan appreciated the efforts of CEE Himalaya for organising such an event in one of the remotest villages where people have very less knowledge about the wetland and their conservation. He extended his thanks to community members, teachers and students for their participation and concluded the event by distributing prizes to the winners.
Celebrations in Northern Region
Uttar Pradesh: CEE Himalaya in association with Divya Memorial Trust conducted an educational programme on wetlands at Divyashiksha Balika Gyanpeeth, Khargapur Village, Gomti Nagar Extention, Lucknow. More than 100 students and 20 teachers from Divyashiksha Balika Gyanpeeth; Government Primary School, Government Upper Primary School, and K D S High School, Khargapur participated in the programme. Principal of Divyashiksha Balika Gyanpeeth, Shri N N Yadav gave welcome address followed by an introduction about the programme by Himani and Sumit Verma, CEE Himalaya. Drawing and painting competition and quiz was conducted for junior students (class 1 st -5 th ). For senior students (6 th -9 th ) a short lecture on wetlands for disaster risk reduction by Dr. Abdhesh Gangwar, Programme Director, CEE and an open quiz completion was conducted.
Senior students also participated in an educational game on developing inventory of wetlands on goods and services provided by wetlands; problems associated with wetlands; wetlands present in nearby areas; birds & animals, terrestrial/aquatic/ amphibian found in wetlands; and how wetlands can be conserved and sustainably used. Students were divided into four groups. Each group was also joined by teachers and one facilitator from CEE. With the help of their teachers and facilitation by CEE, students listed more than 12 wetlands present in the nearby areas, documented the rich variety of birds and animals, over 35, found in and around the wetlands and listed food items and other useful products obtained from wetlands. Through discussions and brainstorming sessions, students summarized that the main problem associated with the depleting wetlands is their encroachment for construction and agriculture and the pollution. Though people do not directly defile the wetlands but the sewage and garbage from their home makes way into the wetlands resulting in contamination of ground water and killing life that depends on these water bodies. Students also said that they have seen dead fishes, crabs and birds near these water bodies. Polluted water has also caused problems related to health and has resulted in the spread of water borne diseases in their areas. Students identified inter-relationships between wetlands and their day-to-day requirements of food, clothing, shelter, medicines, fuel wood, recreation etc. Recognizing the fact that major reason for degradation of wetlands is pollution from domestic waste water and garbage, students also came up with measures at individual and household level to address this problem.
An exhibition on Climate Change, Environment & Development was also displayed on the venue and shown to students and teachers.
The programme was successful in engaging students in learning about World Wetlands Day, threats to wetlands and various mitigation strategies. The programme concluded by vote of thanks by Trustee Shri J C Srivastav and prize distribution. Prince Saxena, Neha Vishwakarma, Neetu Dubey, Piyush Mishra were awarded prizes for their beautiful and expressive drawings on environment. The drawing junior students made very clearly reflected that clean and healthy wetlands are important for our survival and prosperity. Our lifestyles impact wetlands.
Students took pledge to contribute their efforts to save wetlands. The event inspired the students to appreciate and understand nurture and care for the wetlands and environment around them. Anita Singh, Ram Avadh and Dushyant Kumar, CEE helped in conducting activities, putting up exhibition, arranging logistics and facilitating the celebration.
Celebrations in Central Himalaya
Uttarakhand: CEE Himalaya celebrated World Wetlands Day in Kuroli village, Bhatwari Block, Uttarkashi district Uttarakhand. CEE Himalaya has been working in Kuroli village and other 4 villages in the vicinity since 2013 and has been actively engaged in promoting community based disaster risk reduction in the region.
Around 60 people comprising of males, females, school children and youth from Kuroli and its nearby villages learned in-depth about the usefulness of wetlands for environmental protection and income generation as well as the locally adopted measures to conserve them. Accordance with the theme of 2017, Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mr. Kushpal from CEE Himalaya Team highlighted the efforts of village residents in lowering the risks of small and medium disasters in the region by adopting certain local actions like planting traditional plants, cleaning the local water bodies, no littering etc. CEE Himalaya Team appreciated the efforts of community and encouraged them to continue these local actions for sustainable environment and mountain development.