The department of environment and forests has decided to focus on conservation of wetlands and small waterbodies, considering the significance of their unique eco-system.
To start with, authorities at Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park (Patna zoo) have started the process of selecting firm/s that would treat around 25 kilolitres daily (KLD) of wastewater.
At present, there is no system to treat wastewater. The water is collected through open drains from various sections and discharged into the old lake. The proposal is to have a bio-filter plant to treat wastewater and put it to various alternative uses.
Patna zoo director Abhay Kumar told The Telegraph: “The park generates about 25KLD of domestic wastewater by washing animals. We want to enhance the quality of the wastewater to make it suitable for gardening and improving the landscape. Our objective is also to prevent disposal of untreated wastewater into the lake. The treatment is to be done by any bio-filtration technique either with the use of earthworms, microbes and micro-plants.”
| Kabar Lake Bird Sanctuary
He added: “The selected firm would first carry out a survey of the park before selecting appropriate land for setting up the plant to have minimum transfer of untreated water. We intend to start the treatment facility within four months at a tentative cost of Rs 15 to 20 lakh.”
The Telegraph had on March 2 reported about the willingness of Rajiv Kumar Sinha, who teaches environmental engineering at Griffith School of Engineering, Brisbane, Australia, to install earthworm-based sewage treatment plant at Patna zoo to process wastewater. The senior lecturer, however, could not be contacted for comment on the latest development.
The forests and environment department is also in the process of selecting firm/s that would prepare species-wise population estimate of birds at three wetlands— Kabar Lake Bird Sanctuary in Begusarai, Dr Salim Ali Zubba Sahni Baraila Jheel Bird Sanctuary in Vaishali and Kusheshwarasthan Bird Sanctuary in Darbhanga.
“The distinct eco-systems of wetlands are ecologically important. However, many wetlands in the state are facing enormous biotic and abiotic pressure. This calls for preparation of immediate management plans. We are in the process to prepare a species-wise population estimation of birds at three selected wetlands managed by the forests and environment department. Some of these may also qualify for being designated as Ramsar Sites if properly maintained,” said B.A. Khan, principal chief conservator of forests, department of environment and forests .
Experts said in addition to preparation of population estimates, authorities should also look after the causes for degradation of the selected wetlands.
“The status of all these wetlands is poor. Consequently, there has been a decline in the number of migratory and the resident birds, over the past few years,” said Ashok Ghosh, the head of the environment and water management department, AN College.