Darpan Singh firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW DELHI: Delhi’s water bodies remain under constant concrete assault and they need to be protected urgently before it is too late, environmentalists told Delhi authorities on Friday.
Activists want a ‘state wetland authority’ and also identification and notification of Delhi wetlands to restore and protect them.
The green activists sought the formation of a ‘state wetland authority’ and identification and notification of Delhi wetlands to restore and protect them.
The Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) had been issuing detailed advisories -- the latest came in December last year -- to the Delhi government to restore and protect urban water bodies. Courts had been issuing similar directions over the years. But nothing much had been done, the environmentalists alleged.
Under the banner of the NGO Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan, they have written to central and state officials, stating that the absence of a single authority to protect and maintain them was the main reason why water bodies were vanishing.
“The Delhi government must act on the recommendation of the MoEF and form a ‘state wetlands authority’ at the earliest,” they said in their representation to the Delhi chief secretary, the vice-chairman of the Delhi Development Authority and besides other officials.
Delhi had more than 600 water bodies of which many have already been lost to urbanisation, including their draining and conversion into roads, parks, residential properties or government facilities. “Like, for example, the Sarai Kale Khan Bus terminal is located on a drained water body and hence goes under water whenever there is heavy rainfall,” said Manoj Misra of Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan.
Urban water bodies help in ground water recharge, treat waste water and provide a refuge for bio-diversity, besides acting as recreation sites. But more than 50% of the water bodies across Delhi have gone dry, a recent government survey has revealed. Of the remaining, more than 50% have poor quality water.
Government authorities are developing Narela in north Delhi as Delhi’s newest sub city. Because of ongoing construction, several water bodies are under threat. Similarly, the Jahangirpuri marshes, again in North Delhi, remain threatened by infrastructure development activities.
“We have prepared an action plan for the revival of water bodies. Water bodies are being identified, located mapped and photographed,” claimed a senior Delhi government official.