Students Celebrate World Wetlands Day 2017 for Disaster Risk Reduction

CEE Himalaya (Himalaya Initiative of Centre for Environment Education, with the support from Give2Asia and JSW Foundation, RCE Srinagar, Mountain Partnership, and Indian Himalaya Climate Adaptation Programme conducted various events across the Indian Himalayan Region on 2 February, 2017 on the occasion of World Wetlands Day.

Celebrations in Jammu and Kashmir (Western Himalaya)

CEE observed World Wetlands Day in Hayatpora, Jammu and Kashmir, India. The remote village Hayatpora is located 35km away from Rajouri city surrounded by dense forests. CEE Himalaya is the first organisation to conduct any event on environmental education, climate change and sustainable mountain development.

60 students and ten teachers participated, focussing on the role of wetlands in mitigating the impacts of disasters. In this remote part of the world, people have little or no knowledge on wetlands and their conservation. This makes the participation of community members, students and teachers the more important. Quoting the examples of Dal and Wular Lakes in the region, the importance of wetlands in sustaining livelihoods was highlighted. Students learned about the various topics related to wetlands such as conservation, livelihood, disasters, and recreation through a painting and speech competition. Students Saleema Aktha and Abdul Fakeer won the painting and speech competitions respectively.

Celebrations in Uttar Pradesh (Northern Himalaya)

CEE Himalaya in association with the Divya Memorial Trust organized an educational programme on wetlands in the village Khargapur, Lucknow. More than 100 students and 20 teachers from the area’s surrounding primary schools and high schools participated in the programme. First to Fifth grade students took part in a drawing and painting competition, and a quiz to test their knowledge on wetlands. Senior students received a short lecture on wetlands for disaster risk reduction by Abdhesh Gangwar, Programme Director, CEE.

Senior students also participated in an educational game on developing an inventory of wetlands on goods and services provided by wetlands, the problems associated with them, identification of local wetlands and fauna, and how wetlands can be conserved and sustainably used. They identified more than 12 local wetlands, documented the rich variety of birds and animals, and realized the importance of wetlands for their day-to-day requirements such as food, clothing, shelter, medicines, fuel wood, and recreation. Recognizing the fact that waste water and garbage pollution were major reasons for wetland degradation, students were asked to discuss measures for individuals and households to address this problem.

Through discussions students summarized the main problem associated with depleting wetlands to be their encroachment for construction, agriculture and pollution. Polluted water has also caused health problems for the local population and the spread of water borne diseases in the area. An exhibition on Climate Change, Environment and Development was also displayed.

Celebrations in Uttarakhand (Central Himalaya)

Since 2013, Cee Himalaya has been engaged in the Uttarakhand region and specifically the village Kuroli, promoting community based disaster risk reduction. Approximately 60 participants, young and old, from Kuroli and nearby villages learned in-depth about the usefulness of wetlands for environmental protection and income generation as well as the locally adopted measures to conserve them. Accordance with the Mr. Kushpal from CEE Himalaya highlighted the efforts of village residents in lowering the risks of small and medium disasters in the region, through the planting of traditional plants, cleaning local water bodies, and reducing waste. CEE Himalaya praised the villages for their and encouraged them to continue their actions towards more sustainable livelihoods and sustainable mountain development.

Photos of the events have been uploaded on facebook.

For more details on this event, please contact:

Abdhesh Gangwar

Himani Joshi