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Home / Environment / Polluted Sambhar lake to follow Chilika model after deaths of 20,000 migratory birds

Polluted Sambhar lake to follow Chilika model after deaths of 20,000 migratory birds

Sambhar Lake’s polluted ecosystem is believed to be responsible for the country’s largest death toll in the last 30-40 years of waterfowls, who are believed to have fed on maggot-infested carcasses leading to deadly neuromuscular disease, botulism.

environment Updated: Dec 09, 2019 01:14 IST
Rakesh Goswami
Rakesh Goswami
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
Veterinary doctors provide first aid to a bird at the Sambhar Salt Lake in Rajasthan.
Veterinary doctors provide first aid to a bird at the Sambhar Salt Lake in Rajasthan.(PTI Photo)
         

The Rajasthan government will set up a standing committee on the lines of Odisha’s Chilika development authority to better manage Sambhar Lake, India’s biggest inland saline wetland, which has seen deaths of 20,000 birds since November 10 due to pollution-bred disease called botulism.

A government draft report accessed by the HT last month ranked Sambhar Lake among India’s 34 worst wetlands and a subsequent state government study found it’s water to be highly alkaline, saline, of poor quality, and prone to bacterial growth-- indicating the damage done by pollution.

The polluted ecosystem is believed to be responsible for the country’s largest death toll in the last 30-40 years of waterfowls, who are believed to have fed on maggot-infested carcasses leading to deadly neuromuscular disease, botulism.

The interdepartmental coordination meeting on November 26 also decided to make the Jaipur district environment committee (DEC) responsible for the lake’s day-to-day management and tasked Rajasthan State Wetland Authority (RSWA) with the Sambhar lake management plan.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had issued notices to the Centre and the Rajasthan government on November 20, following a Hindustan Times report, and asked the National Wetland Authority, State Wetland Authority, Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board and Jaipur district magistrate to file a factual and action-taken report before the next date of hearing on January 22.

The Jaipur District Environment Committee met on November 28 and directed the removal of illegal electricity connections to bore wells, monitoring of effluent discharge and stopping of illegal salt production in the area. The pollution control board was asked to monitor the activities of salt production companies and resorts in Sambhar.

Sambhar salt lake, located 80 km southwest of the city of Jaipur, is recognized as a wetland of international importance and a key wintering area for tens of thousands birds.