Off the coast of Jamnagar, in the Gulf of Kutch, lies the precious Marine National Park. Small colourful corals, shallow-swimming puffer fish, rare birds, an itinerant octopus - these are a few gems of the park.
If you aren't a piece of algae, the only way to see these is to walk across the seabed in low tide. I went, but came back halfway. Walking on the sands is not a passive, gentle act. You crush dozens of tiny creatures, including small corals. Shoes, also pulverize the occasional shelled creature. Many co-walkers petted and squeezed the brick-red sponges endlessly. I understand the joy of discovery. But is this an acceptable way to see what the beautiful under-waters?
I don't think so. Corals and sea life are both slowly dying out due to chemical contamination and global warming. They have to be preserved-and nothing is too small for this. In 1980, when the park was created, the environmental urgencies were entirely different. They have changed now. Gujarat is lucky to have such a rich coastline. It must stop all tourism into waters, set up an good interpretation centre and just let everyone know why the waters are too fragile for visitors, making us all part of their conservation, not destruction.
Big cats stray into human habitats, with disastrous consequences. Finally, a standard operating procedure for local officials to prevent harm has been released.
Next week, catch up on the mess of plastics globally- it's coming back to haunt us.