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Natural pollinators – It’s time we respect and maintain harmony with our little friends

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Natural pollinators

pollinators-disappeared

The alarming rate of decline in the population of natural pollinators such as birds, bees, beetles, bats butterfly, could result in a great loss to food crops and other plant species all over the globe.

In this regard, the greatest of all scientists, Albert Einstein, put the importance of natural pollinators in the following words:

“If the pollinators disappeared off the surface of the globe, mankind would only have a few years left to live: no more bees, no more pollination, no more crops, no more animals, no more men.”

Pollinators are our friends; conserve them says ‘Dr VK Mattu from department of Bio Sciences, Himachal Pradesh University recognized for his valuable contributions’ in the field of bio sciences (Zoology), was regarded in the National Seminar on climate change & impact on biological community by the Indian Academy of Environmental sciences. In particular he is conferred gold medal for his findings to the cause of insect bio diversity, ecology & behavioral studies in particular.

His studies started to revolve around “Pollinators”. It says over 75% of the major world crops and 80% of all flowering plant species rely on animal pollinators of which 73% are bees & 19% flies and the rest are bats, beetles, birds, butterflies & moths.

Pollination is an essential ecosystem service that enables plant reproduction and food production for humans and animals. Food security, food diversity, human nutrition and food prices all rely strongly on animal pollinators. Along with providing an essential service to human populations, pollinators also have a key role in helping nature to adjust to external threats such as climate change.

Therefore, we must ensure that our native and managed pollinator population is maintained and protected.” He says

Birds, bees, bats and other species that pollinate plants life are declining at alarming rate which has threatened the existence of plant life and this downward trend could damage dozens of commercially important crops. He defines it as one form of global change that actually has credible potential to alter the shape and structure of terrestrial ecosystems and one indicator of the decline in natural insect pollinators is decreasing crop yields and quality despite necessary agronomic inputs.

Aesthetically pleasing butterfly species showed nearly a 40% decline in species diversity in California in three decades. Moths which are important pollinators in a variety of plant communities including night-blooming cacti, desert lilies, evening primroses, and wild tobacco are also under threat.

Global climate change also poses a real threat many other pollinators such as digger bees, sweat bees, alkali bees, squash bees, leafcutter bees, carpenter bees, mason bees and bumble bees; anecdotal evidence has suggested that some of the bumble bee species adapted to cool temperatures are in decline, whereas warmer adapted species are expanding their ranges.

There is a clear indication of decline in flower visiting flies in many parts of the world and the reasons for this are changing land use practices (habitat loss through mechanical destruction, fragmentation, fire, overgrazing, recreation etc.), Pesticides poisoning of pollinators, Enemies and Diseases, Competition between species and individuals induced by man and climate change.

This will lead to increased vulnerability of some plant species to extinction, although consequences are difficult to define in nonagricultural systems, some plant populations that are dependent on affected pollinators for reproduction could become more vulnerable to extinction. Decrease of bee population in environment may result in less effective pollination of native plant species and also decrease of crop yields up to 30% .

Climate change will have impact on native pollinators in agro ecosystems, especially bumble bees and solitary bees and their decrease will be in close connection to plant species extinction.

Thereby he concludes that time has come to recognize pollinators as guardians of the biological integrity of ecosystems and as a critical component to the nation’s economy. Many of our fruits, vegetables, and nuts, as well as other food products rely on pollinators for reproduction or to increase crop yields. Pollinators with their wide foraging range and collecting activities are valuable perennial mobile biomonitors of the local environment therefore there is a need to study well-documented cases of specific pollinator declines throughout the world and sustainable agriculture has to be promoted to mitigate climate change.

Environment

Amid grave water-crisis in Shimla town, Mayor on China tour for reason unknown

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shimla-to-china--mayor-Kusum-Sadrate

Himachal Watcher tried to confirm the urgency behind the Mayor’s visit to China in times of such crisis when she should have been brainstorming with her councillors to come out with a solution.

Shimla: The Mayor of Shimla town, Kusum Sadret, on Friday left for China, away from the chaos caused by the ongoing water-crisis that has reached an alarming level. Her Ward Councilors are shocked that the Mayor did not even conduct a single meeting to attend to the water crisis in the town, which is only worsening with each passing day.

Yesterday, she remained in the news as SMC supplied ‘sewerage contaminated’ water to the residents of Kanlog Ward. The public and opposition parties are seeking action against the responsible officials for playing with the health of the people by supplying them contaminated water in a time of acute water shortage.

This is not the only reason to worry. The people are forced to fetch water from natural water sources, which are already declared contaminated. Sadly, the Government and the SMC forgot the deadly jaundice outbreak in 2016 that had killed about 32 people within a few months.

The Mayor doesn’t deserve to be at the SMC because she has failed on every front ranging from sanitation to supply of clean and sufficient drinking water to the people, the former Mayor of Shimla, Sanjay Chauhan said.

He has demanded that the government should take the matter seriously and initiate criminal proceedings against the responsible officials. Meanwhile, the Councillors had yesterday planned a protest and gherao of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor. However, they did not find them in office.

The public is receiving a supply of water after a gap of four to five days in most wards while some others are going without water for over a week now.

The water-crisis has brought the hospitality industry in Shimla on its knees. People are forced to buy mineral water as public taps and filters in offices, schools, hospitals are running dry for days. The Shimla Municipal Corporation doesn’t even have sufficient water-tankers to make up for the shortage of water.

A sort of protest erupted among the people as well as the Councilors against the Mayor. The Mayor was even gheraoed by the people in some localities.

While the protest of the Congress Ward Councilors demanding the resignation of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor was obvious, Bhartiya Janata Party’s own Councilors have come out openly criticizing the way Mayor left them behind to face the wrath of the people.

Leaving the battleground at such a time is condemnable.

It appeared that there must be some urgent reason behind discarding distressed people from the list of her priorities for a visit to foreign.

Himachal Watcher tried to confirm the urgency behind the Mayor’s visit to China in times of such crisis when she should have been brainstorming with her Councillors to come out with a solution. The Deputy Mayor did not pick up the phone. Everyone else at the Shimla Municipal Corporation said they were not aware of the purpose of the visit.

When Himachal Watcher contacted the MC Commissioner, Rohit Jamwal, he also denied having any knowledge regarding the purpose of this visit of the mayor. The Commissioner also denied having any knowledge regarding the return of the Mayor.

He said he could only confirm that she has left for China.

The only hint available is some unofficial reports that suggested that Sadret would be attending the International Mayor’s Conference in China. Otherwise, her visit is a sort of secret mission, which is why no one is aware of it. Maybe, she’ll bring a solution to the ongoing chaos from China.

The Councilors are blank as the people of their wards demand supply of water on at least alternate days. The Mayor made a wrong choice, the Councillors agreed, adding that a leader should not run away when the people need him/her most.

The public can be heard comparing the tenure of Sanjay Chauhan with Kusum Sadret. We were better off with previous MC, a couple of shopkeepers at Boileauganj heard discussing.

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Environment

400 fire watchers deployed, Rs. 1.75 cr. sanctioned for checking forest fires in Himachal: Forest Minister

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Forest fires in himachal pradesh

Shimla: The Forest Minister of Himachal Pradesh Govind Singh Thakur today informed that four hundred fire watchers have been deputed across the State and added that Rs. 1.75 crore has been sanctioned by the GoI for checking and management of fire incidents in the State.

Every year, forest fires in summers turn a large amount of forest wealth to ashes. 

He said that State government has started a new project from this year for management of fire incidents by spending Rs. 1 crore additionally.

He also claimed that with a view to check the number of forest fire incidents in the State, the department implemented an awareness campaign in the month of March which proved effective and a lot of support and cooperation is coming from people in tackling fire incidents.

He said that about 9500 people got connected to the website of Forest Survey of India Dehradun which proved helpful to them in receiving information about fire incidents in their areas.

He said that the department also started a toll-free number for receiving this information. He said that the information regarding fire incidents is coming faster this year as compared to previous years due to these measures and action is being taken instantly.

He urged the people of the State to extend support to the department.

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Environment

Himachal to launch Polythene Hatao Paryavaran Bachao Campaign along with plantation of 15 lakh plants

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Plastic Hatao Paryavaran bachao campaign

Shimla: While the two Municipal Corporations of Himachal Pradesh and Municipal Councils of various towns are nowhere near the solid waste segregation and proper disposal, the State Environment, Science and Technology will be launching a week-long ‘Polythene Hatao Paryavaran Bachao Campaign’ from May 27 to June 2, 2018, across the State to motivate people for the elimination of polythene and protection of the environment, Director D.C. Rana informed on Friday.

He said that this campaign would be coordinated in each district by urban local bodies and PRIs under the supervision of Deputy Commissioner.

Cooperation of all government offices, NGO’s would also be sought. Public representatives, MLA’s, Ministers would also be approached for motivating people towards shunning polythene and protecting the environment.

Efforts would also be made for cleaning of water bodies, areas near water sources, tourist places etc, during the campaign, he added.

Plantation Drive during HP Van Mahotsava

The Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) G.S. Goraya on Friday informed that 15 lakh plants would be planted in the state during three days plantation campaign after holding of State Level Van Mahotsava between 9 to July 15 this year.

A plantation campaign would be taken up throughout the state for three days starting two days after holding of State level Van Mahotsava between the said dates. In addition to the local communities, all members of H.P. Vidhan Sabha would also be requested to participate in the planting campaign at any of the sites on the date convenient to them.

The matter regarding the implementation of Reward Scheme for the staff of the Forest department, communities, and schools, which are doing good work in nursery raising, carrying out plantations, and forest protection work, was also discussed.

Fields officers were requested to send their suggestions on criteria to be fixed to judge good performances for purpose of nominating and finalizing the recipients of the proposed rewards.

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