Wednesday, August 11, 2010

SEE and Just Sympathize ! !

SEE and Just Sympathize ! !

I have been collecting water samples from different locations of South Mumbai and analyzing them to detect pollution. It was always disheartening to see plastic and other wastes polluting the sea but the worst sight was the oil spill at Marine Drive and since than I have been collecting water samples from different areas of Mumbai Coast to check the extent of oil spill.

The beautiful coastline is already under high anthropogenic pressure and now, MSC Chitra and Khalijia have just added to the cause. The mixture of oil and water is known as 'mousse', an extremely sticky substance that clings to any marine body and surface that comes in contact with it. Unfortunately, many marine life forms get trapped in it, while some may swim into it because it resembles food. Wildlife other than fish and sea creatures, including mammals, reptiles, and birds that live in or near the ocean, are also poisoned by the oil waste.

About 500 tones of oil has already flown. Other than tones of fuel, diesel and lubricant oil, 31 containers have pesticide in them. We were worrying about the oil spill and now, containers of pesticide are bobbing off on the sea.

The west coast of India expresses high wave activity during monsoon which further spreads the spill to great distances and even to the coasts. The oil waste reaching to the shoreline, interacts with the sediments such as beach sand and rocks, vegetation, causing erosion as well as contamination.

We have been discussing many issues like

* When will the traffic suspended at Mumbai harbor be restored?

* How long will it take to clear the spill?

* How much cost will be incurred during the clean –up?

* Who will pay for it?

* Which technology will be used for it?

* How long will the fishery industry suffer?

But when will we ask

* How much environmental impact has the oil spill caused?

* How many animals are killed ?

* Will all the sick and injured animals get rescued?

* Other than economical impact, will the government take a stance for the environment disaster?

* Will an environmental assessment committee be formed to keep a check on the impact of his disaster?

* Is the damaged caused irreversible?

* What will be the long term impact of this disaster?

The Oil Spill may be cleared within a few months and we will forget about it but the impact of disaster will live with us. In nature there is a process called bioaccumulation, where concentration of pollutants increase and are passed on in a food chain to higher level. These toxic substances can easily enter the human system and will be passed on to future generations to come.

The cost incurred in cleaning up the oil spill can be recovered from the two Shipping Companies But the key questions that needs to be answered is

Can we recover the loss that the oil spill has caused to the marine environment ?

Are we going to be mute spectators? Will we only have sympathy and emotions rather than any actions ?

And if so, there is no future for our wildlife or nature… SEE & Just Sympathize!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


           Bhavan’s Nature Club had arranged an overnight camp at SGNP on 26th and 27th of Dec. 08. The response of students was overwhelming… with a participation of more than 50students. We all including Pandya Sir, Shaila Mam, Students and few ex-students assembled at the Toll Gate of Borivali National Park around 10.30 am. We proceeded toward Forest Dept Camping Bungalow… which we had managed with great efforts!! It had everything to accommodate a crowd of 60 enthusiasts. The comfort and cool atmosphere of the forest and rest house gave us a warm welcome.

           The day started with an introductory session. I was really proud to see that students from various departments... physics, biotech, bms  and ex-students including mba’s, engineers, commerce backgrounds,  PhD, and other professionals were associated with the Bhavan’s Nature Club. The biology domination did not exist here!!

            We all were hungry and with so many Dabbas to share for lunch… believe me it was a great feast!! And with Lotssss of Jelly Chocolates and strawberries for sweet dish (thanks to Suraj), we all needed a quick nap.While few went for a quick snooze, we relaxed under the tree shades sharing our experiences. Very soon Pandya Sir announced for a Matinee Show on Biodiversity of SGNP. He had managed for a Projector from college and the students arranged a wall as screen by relocating the huge furniture. We all took our places (without the popcorn :( ) and Sir introduces us to the beauty of SGNP on screen !!! Most of the newcomers could not resist visiting the forest after that  . Without wasting any time we all assembled for the trail. As Sir and I were Busy grouping the students, The CCF of SGNP Mr. Thorat gave a visit to our group

          By the time, here came our Chai!… which we all were longing for, and then we left for the trail. 

           The Trail was more of a walk , as most of the group members were first timers. But with great interest they studied the plants, flowers we explained to them and gazed the lovely birds… who’s call Sir had just mimicked! We crossed the stream to reach a place, where we were very much away from all tourist species And when Spotted Deer’s passed us, the students just could not stop reacting. In the isolation, we tried to find our way back. We crossed few Padas and a glance at the human settles of SGNP, was a good topic for our debate later. Sir took us through the jungle short cuts and we reached our rest houses before it turned dark. And What a Site! The Chai wala was waiting for us with garama garam aadrak wali chai, a treat indeed!

We all got fresh and prepared ourselves for a Star Gazing Show. With a few constellations for us to introduce with, we soon realized that we were a lot hungry. The packet Chicken Biryani’s we had ordered for had already spread its aroma, and we praised BBC for its taste. BBC was not British Broadcasting Channel but Borivali Biryani Centre from were we had ordered them  ! Our group had been treated with Ice-creams (again thanks to Suraj, our sponsor). As the Chills in the atmosphere around increased, we further enjoyed the Ice-cream. I and Suraj had decided to leave the park in the night to get ice creams for the group. Though we both could not manage with the cold breeze on the bike, it was worth….. we were treated with huge number of deers on our way back . Suraj could not resist capturing them in his camera and I was soooo engrossed in the site that, I did not bother about the melting Ice-creams ! The dark chilly night left all of us in a very different mood. Saurabh was carrying his guitar and Preyas his voice…Suraj didn’t mind giving a surila chorus, while Rachit did try a bit of drums on a solid surface. Me and Ovee were always ready with the song request, Prachi was  too tired to participate while PP just hibernated in my Rug! The extremely low volume of music (with due respect to forest) … hamari Sham- e- Mhefil main jaan daal di!

           Next morning at 5.00am was the alarm. The Chai and the buses were on time. The group had segregated into two. Few students wanted to enjoy Birding at Tulsi Lake (which we had permission for) while few wanted to visit the Kanheri Caves. Pandya Sir escorted a group to Kanheri, while I had left for Tulsi Lake with the rest. On our way students were excited to see the hornbill so close by, she sat majestically on a branch just ahead for quite a long time; for us to take a close look of her and appreciate her beauty to the core.

We walked down till the lake, where PP and all off said Good Bye to our turtle, Preyas had rescued. We did a good birding on our way but had a bad luck in case of raptors . We all were tired by the time we reached back to the barricade but our luck was on our favor. I met Mr. Rathod of Lion and Tiger Safari, on the Tulsi Road who was kind enough to send a bus for us on his own without our request (looking at our tired faces he must have thought of doing so!). While we waited for our Bus, Suraj again opened his “Big Bag of Toffees” and shared the sweets with every possible person. We reached our Rest house, packed up our bags and were ready to leave. I had the job of dropping few of my friends till the main gate, as I was the only one with the Bike in the Group. We all assembled at the gate once again but this time it was the time to say Good Bye ! We all promised to meet next weekend for Tungarehwar Trail !



This Blog is Specially dedicated to my friend Jaggi, who is least interested in Nature Trails but forced me to write this Blog and put forward my experiences. Thanks Buddy