In the aftermath of Cyclone Yash, good souls have rushed to Sundarbans to distribute relief to the devastated families. The State Government has also announced Duare Tran relief for those impacted. However, amidst all these altruism, responsible human actions have taken a back seat, affecting the environment in alarming ways.
Indrajit Basu WBPS, the Additional SP of Baruipur District, recently posted on social media requesting all involved in relief work not to litter the mangrove forests and rivers of Sundarban with plastic bottles. Click on the link below to watch his appeal on Facebook:
“On account of Yash many islands in the Sunderbans got adversely affected leaving the fisheries and agricultural lands flooded. To provide relief and support to people whose livelihood has been affected, the government along with other private bodies and NGOs has come forward to their aid. However, along with providing essential items, 1 litre plastic drinking water bottles are also being sent. Plastic bottles are not generally used in the Sunderbans since it is an ecologically sensitive area. Locals and relief workers are disposing of these plastic bottles everywhere.” Indrajit Basu shared.
“The situation is more glaring when urban literate people from Kolkata throw these plastic bottles in the rivers on their way from one island to the other. This careless attitude has impacted the ecosystem of the Sundarbans for years. The plastic bottles have even reached the Sundarban Tiger Reserve,” the officer rued.
Appeal to people
Indrajit Basu has appealed to those involved in relief work not to bring 1 or 2 litre plastic bottles or polythene bags. “If you can distribute 10 litre bottles then people do not dispose of it. They usually keep those stored in their homes and use it for other purposes,” he suggested.
Regarding cleaning up the plastic waste which has already accumulated in the islands he suggested, “If the NGOs can participate in cleanliness drives and clean up the area along with distributing relief it would go a long way. The government is also trying to assist them.”
Indrajit Basu has also appealed to residents of Gosaba, Rangabelia, Dulki, Sonagaon, Kumirmari to come together and participate in a cleanliness drive to protect our wildlife and preserve the invaluable mangroves, through his posts on social media.
For our own sake
It is important for people to understand the importance of conserving the natural environment. “We do not usually litter our homes with plastic bottles because that is our own home. But we must realize that we must preserve the Sundarbans mangrove forests to protect our homes. The Sundarbans mangrove forest plays an important role in checking the speed of cyclonic storms thereby protecting our home as well. We must protect this ecosystem and stop polluting it for our own sake,” he reasoned.
“The Sundarban is home to all. Everyone is welcome here. But we need to be responsible in our actions and work together to cause least environmental degradation and damage. This serves not only for the Sundarbans but for other Protected Areas as well,” Indrajit Basu added.
Over the years the Baruipur Police has been involved in many community-policing initiatives like distributing relief, setting up community kitchens and ensuring plastic free zones in this eco-sensitive zone.
Know your pride
The Sundarban is home to the world’s largest mangrove forests. The Sundarban Tiger Reserve was established in 1973. The Sundarban National Park, established in 1984 was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and a Biosphere Reserve in 2001. The Sundarban Wetland is also recognized as the Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention.
The Sunderbans Delta is the only mangrove forest in the world inhabited by tigers while the Sunderban National Park is known for its wide range of fauna, including 260 bird species and is home to many rare and globally threatened wildlife species such as the Estuarine Crocodile, Royal Bengal Tiger, Water Monitor Lizard, Gangetic Dolphin and Olive Ridley Turtles.