Save Deepor Beel Now or Never

Indrajit Dutta

Abstract


Wetlands have a great role to play in preserving the earth’s fragile eco-system. The Deepor Beel (small lake) in Guwahati is recognized as one of the most important wetlands of India. There exists an intergovernmental treaty which came into force after signing of the
International Convention on Wetlands, Ramsar, Iran, in 1971. Deepor Beel happens to be the only wetland in this part of the country to find a place in the list of 1712 wetlands that are designated as Ramsar sites. Home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, it is a paradise for a wide variety of birds and a refuge for a variety of endangered wild animals. It is also a major breeding ground for over 60 species of fish.
The writer, a technocrat and a social activist, dwells at length on the rich biological wealth of the Deepor Beel. He also sheds light on the natural and man-made challenges posed to its existence. The waste emanating from illegal settlements and industries cropping up around the wetland and the waste water that finds its way into the Beel from different parts of the city of Guwahati as well as encroachment are threatening to convert this vibrant Beel into a massive garbage dump. The newly constructed broadgauge line across the wetland is also causing damage to the fragile eco-system.
The writer’s comprehensive write-up has sent the alarm bells ringing. He says that it is high time for us to take steps to preserve this precious wetland, before it is too late. Clearing the Beel of encroachers, reducing pollutants, desiltation, controlled fishing and controlled activities in the Beel, can go a long way in preserving the wetland, feels the writer.

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