THANGA, FEBUARY 3, 2018 (DIPR): World Wetlands Day 2018 on the theme “Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future” was observed yesterday at the Thanga Khunjem Ground, Bishnupur district. The function was organised by the Loktak Development Authority (LDA) in collaboration with the Morning Star Association (MSA).

Speaking as chief guest, Shri Thounaojam Shyamkumar, Minister of Forest and Environment appealed to the fishermen of the area to stop using un-conventional methods while fishing in the Loktak Lake. He said the use of LED lights and electric current using battery operated devices is disturbing the marine life apart from distracting the migratory birds. Advising the fishermen to continue with the conventional and traditional way of fishing at the Loktak Lake, he said saving wetlands is saving humanity.

Th. Shyamkumar assured the local residents that the State Government will take up suitable developmental projects/works for the people of the area after the Budget Session. He said the Government under the leadership of Chief Minister N. Biren Singh is committed for the welfare of all the people. He appealed the locals to help the State Government in saving the Loktak Lake.

Speaking as resource person, Dr. Sony Meitei, Associate Professor, Moirang College stressed on the need for conserving and preserving the Loktak Lake, which is the largest freshwater lake in the North East India. He said the water of the Loktak Lake is polluted with the continuing increase of organic load which is resulting in stinking of water and decaying of vegetations, including marine life. He opined that the people living in the surroundings of the Loktak Lake should assertively raise their voice against pollution of the lake and give full cooperation in conserving the freshwater lake.

Shri K. Jugeshwor Singh, Principal, Kumbi College opined that the Loktak Lake can be saved by the people once they know the value and its importance in our daily life. He also spoke on the vegetation changes witnessed over the last few decades in and around the Loktak Lake and stressed that the same are also reported from across the world. He also raised concern at the declining numbers of migratory birds flocking around the Loktak Lake in the recently conducted bird census on January 20, 2018. Migratory birds are the best bio indicator for judging wetlands, he added.

Shri L. Bhagaton, Project Director, LDA said wetlands are important for human civilization as it serves as a source of drinking water, reduces flooding and the vegetation of wetlands filters wastes and improves water quality. Stating that it is an irony that humans are converting wetlands into waste lands, he cautioned that the wetlands within the city are in critical condition. Speaking on the decreasing number of migratory birds flocking around the Loktak Lake, he said use of LED lights by the fishermen is causing migratory birds to shift their destination. The unclear water caused by the floods is also another reason, he added.

The dignitaries also launched a poster in connection with the observance. Prizes were distributed to the winning school children who participated in the spot painting competition held in the morning. All together 96 children took part in the competition.

Shri T. Robindro Singh, MLA Thanga A/C also the chairman of PDA as President, Shri L. Radhakishore Singh, MLA Oinam A/C also the chairman MPCB and K. Robindro Singh, MLA Mayang Imphal A/C as Guest of Honours, officials of LDA and locals attended the function.

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