Migratory birds return to Sultanpur lake

News this week: migratory birds return to Sultanpur lake (Gurgaon district), groundwater level dips in Maharashtra and Kerala grows saline-resistant rice after 25 years.
Sultanpur bird sanctuary Source: Wikipedia Sultanpur bird sanctuary Source: Wikipedia

At Sultanpur, migratory birds visit an artificial lake

Birds are back at the Sultanpur bird sanctuary near the capital, thanks to an artificial lake created by the Forest Department. A popular wintering site for migratory birds in Haryana's Gurgaon district, Sultanpur lake had dried up due to over-construction in its catchment and thus had no water supply from surface run-off. Five cusecs of water is pumped in from the Gurgaon Water Channel to keep the lake alive. The latest bird census conducted in November reported 242 bird species, both migratory and domestic, as compared to 218 till November last year.

Despite good rainfall, groundwater level in Maharashtra dips

Groundwater in 97 of the 342 Talukas in Maharashtra that received good rainfall this year, has dipped by over one metre, says a report prepared by the State Groundwater Survey and Development Agency (GSDA). Of a total of 2,431 villages where the groundwater level has depleted, only 127 villages fall in the water scarce areas of Beed, Jalna and Osmanabad. According to the GSDA, excessive exploitation of water, reduction in the number of rainy days from 35-40 days in a year to around 25-30 and torrential rains that prevent vertical infiltration of water into the ground could have caused this. 

Indegenous saline and flood-resistant rice back in Kerala

This year a village in Kerala harvested the indegenous saline and flood-resistant organic rice variety known as Pokkali, after a gap of 25 years. The rice, grown only in the coastal districts of Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Thrissur, has been certified a Geographical Indication product for its unique nature. Pokkali cultivation in the fields of Ezhupunna village stopped 25 years ago when contractors leased the land for prawn culture, which led to salinity ingress in the soil, groundwater and air.

Three industrial areas in Tamil Nadu critically polluted

Three of Tamil Nadu's four industrial clusters have been termed as 'critically polluted' in the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI), a parameter followed by the Central Environment Ministry to decide on moratoriums for activity expansion in industrial clusters across the country. The three industrial zones of Manali, Cuddalore and Vellore had a high pollution score in the last CEPI study too but the moratorium on expansion has been lifted in the first two zones based on their pollution mitigation plan. The freeze on expansion in Vellore, however, has been extended.

Tribals in Spiti oppose hydel projects

Tribals camped in the Himachal Pradesh state capital Shimla to protest against a proposed hydropower project in Lahual and Spit district's Sham valley. Located at a height above 10,000 feet, Sham valley is home to a Tibetan-Mongloid tribe who are not used to locking their houses in the villages. With the invasion of power projects, they fear not just the environmental destruction of this ecologically fragile area but also a threat to their free lifestyle.

This is a weekly roundup of important news from December 1-7. Also read last week's policy matters updates.

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