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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

A Bird Lost for (nearly) One Generation

Bharati Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, February 14, 2011
First Published: 00:18 IST(14/2/2011) | Last Updated: 00:21 IST(14/2/2011)

The last time they saw the Baikal Teal in Delhi was in 2006, once. Before that, it was seen only in 1970. On the Sunday that just went by, this rarest of rare bird was seen once more in Delhi, at the Okhla Bird Sanctuary.

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As a birder, I was thrilled to see it, but sorry to leave because I also knew the chances of seeing it again in my lifetime were low. We don’t know what brought it to Delhi, and how many are there. No more than two have been sighted on Sunday. But if you consider this year, 1970, you can relate it to  the beginning of a new time in Delhi.

The first masterplan had been made, and come info force. New housing projects had begun and many water bodies were filled up. Even if none of this had taken place, the Baikal Teal may have been just as elusive. But with greater habitat opportunities, we could at least offer more people the opportunity to seek it out even as they see other avian beauties. Shall we reconsider how we plan urban spaces? 

Miracles at Tahrir

Mubarak has gone. The protestors will move away from Tahrir Square. This column has been commenting on links between the protest and the environment, in the specific case of Egypt.

People are justifiably proud. But some Egyptian youth are specifically proud for protestors will leave behind a spotless space.

A group of young men, already trained to handle waste, went out into the crowds and collected trash from the protestors. All they had to store it in were 20 large plastic containers for everything that anyone discarded. And believe it or not, they kept it in a segregated fashion, despite the extraordinary stress. 

But this was a revolution, and in that flash,  the seemingly perfect waste handling was part of unveiling new possibilities, for Egypt and the world. 


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