I remember back in 2012-13, when I was in standard 8, everyday I would wake up to the mellifluous chirping of this ever so cute, amicable and chirpy house-sparrows! But I have hardly witnessed any since the last few years. The house sparrow population has been declining in many Asian countries and the decline is quite evident in India. Blame it on either vanishing urban nesting spaces or rapid urban construction, we are losing on precious gems of mother nature at an alarming rate. ”House-sparrows have co-existed with humans, but in the last couple of decades they haven’t been able to keep up with architectural and lifestyle changes,” explained Sohail Madan, Asola centre manager, Bombay Natural History Society. The brunt of human activities in the name of industrialization has not been bared by the house sparrow alone but they are many species who have either given up fighting this malicious battle or are rapidly descending towards their defeat. But what humans fail to learn is that loss of biodiversity is the stepping stone to the vanquishment of the human race itself.
The above two images are of the same bird specie Laysan Albatrosses. This specie is the worst hit avian specie in the catastrophe of biodiversity due to plastic pollution. The second picture shows the decomposing carcasses of Laysan albatross and the plastic that remains (in their stomach) far longer than their bones.
The Galapagos green turtle’s favourite food is jellyfish, so plastic bags floating in the ocean alike jellyfishes are consumed by the turtle which forms a fatal blockage in the gut.The list thus goes on! Marine habitat throughout the world is contaminated with man-made items of debris and solid waste. Marine debris is a burning cause of the destruction of the marine life. Marine debris is any man-made solid material that is disposed of in the marine and coastal environment. Plastic items is the dominant type of marine debris on a global scale. About 15% of the species affected through entanglement and ingestion are on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List. Of particular concern are the critically endangered Hawaiian monk seal, endangered loggerhead turtle, vulnerable northern fur seal etc. As Henry Ford said ‘Don’t find fault. find a remedy’. Irrespective of all the dark cloud there’s a silver lining too. A combination of measures in a regionally coherent context is required, with a focus on reducing the rate at which plastic waste is generated. The apt example of which is MR. Rabindra Sahu. In order to revive the sparrow population in his village, Mr. Sahu started developing low cost artificial nests. Once where he had to plead with people to fix an artificial nest at their house, people now call him asking for his nests. Other simple measures that we can adopt as individuals in doing are best to preserve our biodiversity includes the following; eco-labelling, packaging and plastic reduction, viewing waste as resources, segregation of waste etc. So let’s pledge this environment day to preserve our biodiversity and pass on the beauty of nature to the next generation just the way we received it from our ancestors, after all every straw counts.