Flamingo Festival @ Navi Mumbai on May 14

Greens join hands to focus on vanishing wetlands, CRZ

WMBD is a twice-a-year awareness-raising campaign focusing on migratory birds and their habitats

NAVI MUMBAI: Celebrating the World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) on May 14, a group of environment-focused groups have joined hands to hold the City’s first ever Flamingo Festival.

WBMD is a twice-a-year awareness-raising campaign held on the second week-ends of May and September highlighting the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. It has a global outreach and is an effective tool to help raise global awareness of the threats faced by migratory birds, their ecological importance, and the need for international cooperation to conserve them, the WBMD website said.

The Navi Mumbai Flamingo Festival assumes added significance as the civic body has given the Flamingo City tag to the city that attracts the country’s largest number of pink birds.

A bird watching event will be held at DPS Lake and an exhibition on Flamingos at DPS (Delhi Public School) auditorium  are part of the event for which the entry will be from gate number five. The show, listed as part of the WBMD global events, starts at 12 noon and ends at 6 PM. Entry is free for the event and all are welcome, the organisers said.

“The festival is to remind ourselves on the need to conserve the migratory bird habitats such as wetlands and mudflats in the interest of biodiversity,” said Jyoti Nadkarni of Kharghar Wetlands & Hills forum. A photo exhibition, educational displays on mangroves and wetlands, flamingo dance and a craft event will be part of the fun-filled Navi Mumbai Flamingo Festival, Jyoti said.

Apart from Delhi Public School, the 139-year-old nature research body BNHS, Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) and the State Mangrove Foundation have extended their support for the event.

“While we enjoy the pleasant sight of the various species of birds from across the world flying in, it is equally important for us to understand their regular destinations,” said B N Kumar, director of NatConnect Foundation. “It is just not for the love birds, but to check the fragile ecological balance that we need to focus on wetlands, mudflats and mangroves,” Kumar said.

BNHS has already identified several wetlands to be conserved as part of the Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary (TCFS)satellite wetland management plan to allow birds to take refuge in these places during the hightides.

Sunil Agrawal of Save Navi Mumbai Environment forum said the Flamingo festival will also focus on the dwindling CRZ and constant threats to wetlands. The ongoing construction, adjoining the twin wetlands of NRI and TS Chanakya, is a glaring example of such violations.

Naresh Chandra Singh of Kharghar Wetlands & Hills expressed the hope that the event will help create awareness among the citizens to shed apathy and start worrying about the constant damage to the environment under the guise of urban development. On the one hand, CIDCO has been neglecting the damage to wetlands and mangroves, while on the other the so-called planning body is cutting the hills for levelling the golf course, Singh regretted.