Study at Delhi’s Asola sanctuary over impact of dumping in old mining pits
The proposal, drafted by Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, will also prepare a management plan for the sanctuary
Delhi’s Ridge Management Board (RMB) has approved a proposal to conduct a comprehensive biodiversity study at the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary in south Delhi, officials said.
The proposal, drafted by Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, will also prepare a management plan for the sanctuary, assess the possible impact of dumping inert material in the mining pits and also find out how feral animals likely affect the local flora and fauna, they added.
“It was informed that during an earlier meeting of the Ridge Management Board held on June 28, 2022, the board had desired that the forest department may write to the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun for conducting a comprehensive study of biodiversity of Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary as well as the preparation of a management plan for the sanctuary. Accordingly, WII has submitted a proposal for an amount of ₹91.88 lakh. The study’s objectives include baseline information on the soil and groundwater properties, along with a biodiversity assessment,” said the minutes of the meeting, dated September 18.
WII’s proposal, submitted to the RMB, stated all mining pits at the sanctuary will be delineated and marked with their geophysical features. The proposal said biological attribute maps of different flora and fauna will be created, with critical habitats in the sanctuary to be highlighted for focused efforts.
“WII will develop an integrated management plan for the holistic preservation of the Aravalli ridge, while maintaining the corridor connectivity with the neighbouring states,” said an official part of the RMB meeting, on condition of anonymity.
Abandoned mining pits at the sanctuary emerged as a possible dumping ground for ‘inert’ material being generated at Delhi’s three landfills. Inert material is generated after the municipal solid waste is passed through large sieve-like machines.
In its proposal to RMB, WII stated that it will submit an interim report on the biodiversity study and management plan after one year, while the final management plan will be submitted six months after that.
“The assessment will give an understanding on how many butterfly species, insects, avifauna and mammals are present there,” said Faiyaz Khudsar, scientist-in-charge of DDA’s biodiversity parks programme.