Chinmayisk's Weblog

{March 17, 2013}   Water and Birds

Every year i travel to various parts of the country to observe the winter migration of birds. During my travel this year I observed some  ground realities . I had heard several people talking about India  facing huge water crisis .There had been reports  of severe water scarcity in several regions of the country . But nothing prepared me for the stark reality I saw in various places.The lakes and rivers which were  full during my earlier visits had completely dried up this year .This was the situation in January. One can only imagine how harsh the summer is going to be .The issue of water shortage is likely to become more prominent over the coming decades as the world’s population rises and economic activity increases.

water and birds 1

Our reckless usage has not only created trouble for us.The birds and animals are also at the receiving end of this crisis. These creatures who earlier turned to rivers, lakes and ponds to quench their thirst , breed and feed have no where to go. This has led to a lot of changes in animal behavior  .

rosy pelicansfb

India is a home to a lot of winter migrants  who fly year after year to  breed and bring up their young ones. Due to the changing global temperature the migrants have started coming in late and leaving early leading to lesser breeding and dwindling populations. According to a report by BNHS and BirdLife international a shocking  45 to 88 percent of bird species are expected to decline in the near future.Birds act as seed carriers and  natural insecticides.They are an integral part of our  forests ecosystems , urban ecosystems and the farming communities . The decline in their number  have frightening repercussions like huge food shortage .

Unfortunately , the solution to the  problem of water shortage is highly complicated and requires regulation of water usage at various levels. The saying in hindi that goes as “Boondh Boondh se sagar banta hai” ( loosely  translated to an ocean is formed by collection of droplets of water)  makes sense here. Each one of our efforts makes a difference to the situation. India’s per capita daily consumption is around 135 liters now and is expected to grow to 170 liters.With conscious usage  and adaption of  methods of water reuse and recycle (read more here ). We can do wonders .

There is one more small gesture we all could do this summer. Place a bowl of water on your compound wall , terrace or window sills .

bulbul by waterflycatcher by waterorange headed trush by water

( the images of these birds in water bowl were taken by my friend Raj Mohan M R .This was shot at his house in karkala , India  .)

This  will not only function to quench the thirst of these birds and animals .It  will also create a vibrant environment around your homes.This will  ensure  your mornings to be filled with colorful birds and their melodious songs.

I spent my last weekend in a very interesting fashion.A friend and a mentor of mine  Rohit Rao (A wildlife conservationist told me he was organising a  clean up in Kudremukha .I said yes to the mere temptation of an opportunity  to go to  Kudremukha National Park (Kudremukha is part of westren ghats and was recently awarded world heritage site status) .

one of the  views of kudremukha

one of the views of kudremukha

The plan was to clean up the entire 62 kms stretch . Around 8 of us started  working in the morning  after    loading our tummies with yummy mangalorean breakfast. For the next  2 hours or so we managed to clean only 200 mts such was the plastic accumulation .We filled around 8 gunny bags of plastic which included 300 plastic bottles and around 70 liquor tins/ glass bottles.This was a major realization to all of us. The rest of the sacks were filled with items of everyday use the biscuit packets of the biscuits we relish every day , the chips packets  and the chocolate wrappers we crave for ever so often, and the take aways boxes from our favorite restaurants. I began wondering how much of burden we add everyday to earth with these little plastic packets.Even so in the recent past with those enticing ads and all the talk about consumerism benefiting our economy. Ever major company has started selling affordable little packets in the name of boosting economies but, what we are not realizing that we are loosing our real wealth our environment. We all need to consciously put in more efforts to reduce our plastic consumption. Even if we did, we need to ensure the recycling of this plastic.

There is a reason why plastic is banned in National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries .They are  inhibited by various animals  and anything  that associates with a  human being  is foreign object. The animals being curious do not understand the implication of consuming plastic leading to suffering and death.


What puzzled me the most was we who cant tolerate our kids to cry can inflict such cruelty on nature.We encountered atleast during our work.

At the end of the day we were able to clean a 6 km strecth and we had around 77 kgs of garbage which included 1000 + pet bottles.This was around 10% of the plastic that was visible on the roads. The amount of plastic that lays burried in the leaf litter ( since it is a semi ever green forest there is a lot of undergrowth ) is a scary to even think of the amount that remains in the park.
It is none but every one of us reading this to blame for this .We want a mineral water bottle every where we go , we feel it is ok to throw away litter outside a travelling vehicle, even more we feel this green heaven is the only place to intoxicate ourselves.
Its a shame that we claim ourselves to be the most intellegent creature yet we dont spare thought before destroying something we dont have the ability to create.I wish we all realise this because at this rate there is not much time remaining for us to loose our planet.The drought , the heat are our big warning bells.Its time to Wake Up and Act !!!

et cetera