PUNE: While the civic authorities were busy deciding as to whom the 20-acre land of Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary Yerawada belongs to, in the process ignoring preservation of its ecosystem, a group of environment conscious volunteers has decided to take matters in their hands and clean up the sanctuary.
According to conservationist Meghna Baphna, a member of resident organisation Swachh Group in Kalyani Nagar, the sanctuary now sees only 30 odd species of birds, compared to 500 birds that used to visit several years ago.
Baphna and her team member Purnima Joshi came across the miserable condition of the sanctuary while travelling on the road alongside it.
The sanctuary, a natural biodiversity on the banks of the Mula-Mutha river, had garbage including plastic, thermocol, liquor bottles and debris piled up all over the place.
Baphna told Sakal Times how their group decided to clean up the sanctuary themselves and sought volunteers via Facebook and WhatsApp.
“Around 60 volunteers from Magarpatta, Hadapsar, Balewadi, Khadki, Aundh, along with Adar Poonawalla, employees from Pune Municipal Corporation and members of Swachh Group joined hands together on Saturday, April 21, for two hours and 5-6 bags of waste including plastic and thermocol waste, construction debris, food waste, and garbage from the Garbage Transfer Station next to the sanctuary was collected.”
Joshi said, “There is no entrance gate for the sanctuary. Many have been seen drinking liquor there due to which nature lovers avoid going there.”
Jagdish Mulik, MLA, said the matter of ownership of this sanctuary is pending with the District Collectorate as some part of the land is privately owned while whether to give the rest to Pune Municipal Corporation or Forest Department is being contested.
A CLEANLINESS DRIVE
- For four weeks, every Saturday from 7-9 am, volunteers will organise a cleanliness drive while on Sundays, bird watching trips for children will be organised.
- Garbage collected will be taken to the PMC ground in Kalyani Nagar where two recycling groups - Rudra and Scrapcash - would pick it for processing.