Balasore: Members of the Association for Biodiversity Conservation & Research (ABC), in association with National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers of Fakir Mohan University, conducted a beach-cleaning programme on April 1 in a bid to safeguard marine flora and fauna along the Balasore coast.
Seventy volunteers from the ABC and the university, along with wildlife activists and other stakeholders, took part in the drive and cleaned a huge quantity of garbage from the beach in order to make the place suitable for the horseshoe crab. This was the second annual beach cleaning carried out by the team.
Apart from members, some local fishermen also took part in the drive carried out at Chandipur and Balramgadi beaches.
"It is an effort to facilitate the nesting of marine organisms such as horseshoe crab and turtles. The drive will boost eco-tourism in the region," said Sidharth Pati, a marine biologist and conservationist at Association for Biodiversity Conservation and Research.
Pati is also co-ordinating the programme on the conservation of the horseshoe crab supported by the Rufford Foundation, UK.
"We live in the vicinity of a living fossil," he said talking about the horseshoe crab.
The head of environmental science department at Fakir Mohan University, Suryendu Kumar Dey, briefed the importance of the valuable marine creature and their role in maintaining the marine ecosystem.
Reader in zoology at Siddheswar College Gobinda Chandra Biswal pointed out that the breeding of the horseshoe crab and sea turtle was being hindered by the piles of garbage, plastics, nets and mechanised boats.
"Everyone should rise to the occasion and a collective effort is required to create awareness about the marine environment," said Biswal.
Another key member of the team, artist Kesu Das, said: "Since childhood, the sea beach has been very close to us. Through my art and activities, I always try to protect it."