Gurgaon: Basai wetland

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Threats to the ecology

Plastic pollution

Shilpy Arora, Used plastic bottles pose a threat to Gurgaon wetland, June 9, 2018: The Times of India

RING OF SHAME: A birder spotted this black-necked stork, a ‘near-threatened’ species, with its beak caught in a plastic ring from a bottle in the Basai wetland. The wildlife department has started a rescue operation
From: Shilpy Arora, Used plastic bottles pose a threat to Gurgaon wetland, June 9, 2018: The Times of India

The dumping of thousands of used bottles has created a giant mound of plastic waste on the fringes of the Basai wetland in Gurgaon, not far from the controversial plant to treat construction and demolition waste that has drawn strong protests from environmental activists.

This plastic waste mound, say local residents, is a recent development. Next to it is a privately run plastic compressing and recycling unit that has also come up at the site recently. “Earlier, only C&D (construction and demolition) waste was being dumped here by authorities. But we have been witnessing dumping of plastic waste here for the past two-three weeks. The plastic waste flows down a drain to the wetland,” said Mahavir, a local resident.

Barely 200 metres from this spot is the Basai wetland where a birder spotted a blacknecked stork with the ring that holds the cap of a plastic bottle around its beak.

The stork, as a result, is unable to part its beak. As word spread and the forest and wildlife department on Friday began a search for the bird, environmental activists and birders sought an immediate ban on dumping of all kinds of waste near Basai.

Pankaj Gupta of the Delhi Bird Foundation blamed MCG for ruining the wetland. In May 2017, MCG laid the foundation of the city’s first C&D waste treatment plant in Basai. “The corporation is gradually filling up the wetland and dumping of waste is changing its very nature. Waste dumping is hazardous for winged creatures and a plastic ring around the beak of an endangered bird shows that many birds are at risk,” Gupta said.

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