As sands touch waters, hundreds of waders — birds that wade in shallow water — make these their home during the winter, when they migrate to India. Some birds, like the painted snipe, a popular sighting in protected areas like Bharatpur, were regular visitors.
Along Delhi and UP, birders reported river lapwings by the dozen and even, a sighting of a rare gray headed lapwing. Away from the dampness were sand larks — this was their ideal habitat. Lapwings even bred here. Birds apart, you could see hardy grasses, even the popular khus, and animal life, which the gray sand was crawling with.
Now that there is scarcely any sand, the birds have been displaced from these stretches. There is nothing left to see. The disturbance from mining frightens away anything nearby. The sands have been turned into largely sterile silica molecules.
We know that big cats like tigers getting extinct due to habitat loss. At this rate, smaller riverine creatures are likely to meet the same fate. Sand mining is pushing an important north Indian ecosystem to the brink. It is like cutting down a patch of forest.
Sand mining lease holders should be prosecuted because of the harm they have caused present and future generations of humans beings and animals.