Express News Service
NEW DELHI: To check encroachment and dumping of waste in wetlands across the national capital, the Wetland Authority of Delhi (WAD) is planning to recruit volunteers.
The aim is to increase public participation in environment conservation and to fix accountability of the concerned land owning agency and officials.
The volunteers will be called ‘Wetland Mitras (Wetland Friends) and will send tip-off to the authorities or the land owning agency as and when they notice any illegal activities on wetlands. Wetland Mitra is a concept launched by the Union environment ministry to preserve the ecological character of their wetlands. Kerala is the only state, which has implemented the idea effectively, said KS Jayachandran, member secretary of the WAD.
“Taking inspiration from successful model of Kerala, we are implementing the concept of Wetland Mitras in Delhi. Any individual, group or institution is willing to provide their services for protection, management, and beautification of wetlands without any self consideration and financial benefit can apply to be nominated as Wetland Mitras,” said the official.
“The government will empower local citizens to take charge of waterbodies in their respective localities. Whenever they see anything happening such as dumping of solid waste, sewage, or encroachment, they will take up the matter with the authority or the concerned land owning agency. Information coming from Wetland Mitras will be more authentic. It is a non-financial engagement and we want spirited persons to come forward,” said Jayachandaran, who also holds the charge of the special secretary, department of environment and forest, Delhi government.
The authority has identified and listed about 1,000 waterbodies in Delhi. The residents, who are willing to join as volunteers under the programme, can visit the website of Delhi Parks and Gardens Society and download an application form.
“The greatest challenge for protection of water bodies is encroachment and to prevent infringement, you need people on ground. The information shared by Wetland Mitras will be on papers so will be the actions. It will ensure extreme order of accountability,” Jayachandran further said.