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Issue 48
, 2014
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A wetland in East Delhi that even migratory birds shun

Source: The Hindu, Date: , 2014

The transformation of Sanjay Lake from a wetland or a breeding ground for water birds into an artificial polluted lake is a cause of concern for environmentalists as well as residents of Mayur Vihar Phase –II.

According to Brijendra Singh, who goes for a morning walk to the lake every day, the abysmal state of affairs is due to years of neglect by the Delhi Development Authority, which has been entrusted with the responsibility for the upkeep of the park.

“Two decades ago, the Sanjay Lake used to be virtually a jungle. Initially, the DDA did a commendable job by clearing the bushes and wild grass, building pathways for walkers and joggers along the lake and planting saplings. But over the past decade, the Authority has frittered away a golden opportunity to preserve the lake.”

“More than the park, it is the deterioration of the lake into an artificial polluted body that concerns us,” said Deepak Mehra, a banker who frequently visits the park.

For a passerby the presence of ducks around the lake creates an erroneous impression that all is well. But a closer inspection reveals plastic bags and garbage that has been dumped into the lake by thoughtless people.

Residents want the DDA to adopt measures for sustainable management of the Sanjay Lake so as to preserve the wetland habitat and protect birdlife.

In its website, the DDA has highlighted the Sanjay Lake Park as its achievement by mentioning it as a “water body attracting migratory birds”.

However, noted environmentalist T. K. Roy differs on this point.

“Honestly, the DDA has not maintained the lake. The wetland has been modified into a concrete artificial wetland and its aquatic bio-diversity has deteriorated,” said Mr. Roy to The Hindu .

Mr. Roy said introduction of boating activity, open bathing, washing clothes and creation of playground around the lake has disturbed the wildlife habitat.

“During winters, rare migratory birds visit the wetland but due to environmental degradation around this lake they hardly stay here for long. Last February, a mixed flock of winter migratory ducks such as Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail and Coot were sighted for a day but they disappeared the following day. Birdwatchers and nature lovers are unhappy by this development, ” he added.

“Earlier, it used to attract a large number of diverse species, particularly long distant exotic migratory birds. However, the lake has now unfortunately turned into just an entertainment park with a degraded wetland habitat,” said a visitor.

Though cricket and football cannot be played in the park – signboards to this effect have been put up by the DDA – the rule is openly flouted.

Similarly, entry of scooters and cycles is forbidden and yet many can be seen contravening these rules.

The DDA has failed to maintain the lake, say residents