The Lake Chandlai is a natural lake in Jaipur, and used to be relatively less known. The lake sees migratory birds flock at it every year. More than 10 species of birds such as northern shoveler, common pochard, pintail, tufted duck, ruff, common redshank, common green shank, and common teal have been sighted at the lake. These exotic migratory birds arrive from central Europe, central Asia, Africa, China and various parts of the country in Jaipur to stay till the onset of summer. However, the polluted water of this lake made it a hostile environment for the birds, in addition to corrupting the ecological balance of the lake.
A choking Lake
The lake has been continuously polluted and exploited over the years –water has been consistently extracted for illegal irrigation, severely depleting the water level. The water was used to irrigate nearby fields – often for growing vegetables – ensuring that the contaminants from the lake find their way into the vegetable markets. Commercial fishing activities have also consistently taken place. Garbage dumping in the lake further polluted it.
The nearby town of Sanganer is a hub for chemical dyeing of clothes, which would percolate into the lake and settling there, destroying the fragile ecology of the lake and polluting it.
This has resulted in the number of migratory birds visiting the lake to drop severely. About 20,000 birds would be seen as per the census done in 2005. But this year, the approximate count was just 2,000 against an average of 8,000 to 10,000 birds in the month of February.
Realising the grave dangers of this polluted water, in 2015 Hope and Beyond started a campaign to save the lake. This included scientific and social surveys. We did physio-chemical sampling of the lake water and collected data. We also did questionnaire based surveys of the villagers residing near the lake. Later on we conducted awareness programs in nearby villlages as well as government schools – an initiative supported by the Forestry Training Institute and the Rajasthan Forest Department.
Later, in February 2016, Hope and Beyond organised Chandlai’s first birding festival, in which nearly 1000 students form the villages located near the Chandlai Lake participated.
PCCF Shri D.P.Sharma talking to kids about importance of birds in our ecosystem
Founder of Hope and Beyond, Joy Gardner talking to children about birds and their habitat