Kapurthala, May 10
As part of its 22-day campaign to mark the International Day for Biodiversity, Pushpa Gujral Science City is organizing different events. In a webinar on Tuesday on “Native Animal Biodiversity: Current Status and Future,” a number of schools and colleges from across the state participated.
The main objective behind organizing these webinars and other events is to spread the message for the conservation of biodiversity and its importance for the health of the planet.
Addressing the audience, Dr. Raja KN, Senior Scientist, National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources, ICAR, Karnal, said that India was the seventh largest country by geographical area with physiographic divisions, diets climatic conditions and varied ecological habitats. He said that apart from a high diversity of wildlife, the diversity of domesticated fauna is also very high. He said India has 27 recognized indigenous breeds of cattle, eight breeds of buffalo, over 40 breeds of sheep, 20 breeds of goats and 18 breeds of poultry.
He said that more than a million plant and animal species in the world are on the brink of extinction. He said dedicated efforts must be made by the government as well as the general public to save biodiversity.
Dr Neelima Jerath, chief executive of Science City, said the ongoing campaign in Science City aims to raise awareness about biodiversity conservation.
“India is an extremely diverse country, known for its rich heritage of biological diversity. The varied edaphic, climatic and topographical conditions and years of geological stability have resulted in a wide range of ecosystems and habitats with high degree of endemism, the country is also a Vavilovian center for the origin of agricultural crops,” she said, adding that India is home to four biodiversity hotspots out of 34 hotspots in the world.
Dr. Rajesh Grover, Director of Science City, said biodiversity was fundamental to the existence of life on earth and its importance cannot be underestimated. “Over the past few centuries, humans have had a negative effect on biodiversity, although in general they are increasingly aware of its role. However, because of the damage we have caused and the value that biodiversity has for us as humans, the protection of the natural environment is necessary,” he added.
Webinar on responsible purchasing
As part of the campaign, second webinar on “smart buying”. Dr. Harpreet Kaur, Head of Fashion Design, KMV College, Jalandhar was the keynote speaker on the occasion. She said there is a plethora of harmful chemicals and dyes used by the textile industry that need to be stopped as they seep into our air, water and soil and cause irreparable damage to biodiversity.
She said that shahtoosh shawls, ivory items, fur and leather items were only banned when an awareness campaign was launched among the population regarding the atrocities committed on animals during the manufacture of these items. She urged participants to move towards natural dyeing, natural fibers and vegan substitutes for leather and synthetic furs to make our biodiversity flourish and flourish.