WETLANDS OF SINDHUDURG
Sindhudurg, a coastal district in south western Maharashtra, lies within the Konkan region. The district has 8 administrative sub-units or tehsils. A total of 373 wetlands are mapped by Space Application Centre ISRO, Ahmedabad in Sindhudurg, covering an area of 13,979 hectares. The major wetland type is creeks, followed by rivers/streams, tanks/ponds and sand/beaches.
(Source: National Wetland Atlas – Ministry of environment & Forests – Government of India)
WHY WETLANDS MATTER IN SINDHUDURG
Wetlands are amongst the world’s most productive environments. An immense variety of microbes, plants, birds and animals are part of a wetland ecosystem, many endemic to the region. They prove to be particularly important for Sindhudurg. Due to the course textured soil of Sindhudurg, water holding capacity is found to be very low. Wetlands protect the shores from wave action, absorb the impact of flash floods and reduce soil erosion, all of which are common in Sindhudurg. They improve water quality and help in water storage, but more importantly, allow for slow release into streams for freshwater supply & groundwater recharge. Thus, wetlands prove to be indispensable for the region. Yet study after study demonstrates that wetland areas and quality continue to decline in most parts of Sindhudurg due to human interference.
OUR INNOVATIVE INITIATIVE
A singular struggle to save Dhamapur Lake transformed into an ongoing documentation process of 480 wetlands, across 5 districts of Konkan region. Sindhudurg Wetlands is the Pilot Project of this expansive endeavour, conceptualized by Syamantak Organisation. It is a first of its kind, community driven project involving students from S. R. M. College, Kudal, Br. Balasaheb Khardekar College, Vengurla and Eureka Science Club, experts from a variety of fields like Wildlife Photographers, Botanists, Zoologists, Geographers, Soil scientists, Landscape architects, Anthropologists, Environment lawyers, Agriculturists, Educationists and volunteers from a wide spectrum of the society. Not only has this project resulted in community-wide involvement, hands-on practical education and huge revenue savings in administration, but the core of its outcomes are immeasurable, invisible and sustainable, just like its essence: A community that finds itself connected to the cause of wetlands and a society that genuinely reveres and is aware of its surroundings. It is yet to be seen but a Socratic way of thinking might be taking shape at a community level.