February 10, 2020
On Feb. 4, images of a rare oriental darter struggling to free its beak from a piece of plastic went viral. The incident was reported from Palwal in Haryana which, according to the news report, has lost more than half of its wetlands in 30 years (1970s-2000) due to land-use change like agricultural expansion. In June 2018, in a similar incident, in a wetland just outside Delhi, a black-necked stork had its beak sealed with a plastic ring around it. Its photo had gone viral. The bird was later rescued after extensive efforts by forest authorities.
Such incidents where birds are impacted by trash and plastic waste could be reduced as part of a new plan to conserve birds and control dumping of waste into areas like wetlands that are bird habitats.
With the focus on tigers and elephants, conservation and protection of birds take a backseat in India. Now, a 10-year plan proposed by the Indian government hopes to help in the conservation of birds and their habitats in India.
The draft—visionary perspective plan (2020-2030) for the conservation of avian diversity, their ecosystems, habitats and landscapes in the country—was put in the public domain by the ministry of environment, forest and climate change on Feb. 3, seeking comments from all stakeholders.