On #WorldWetlandsDay2021 we bring to you a story about one of India’s beautiful wetlands, Bhojtal in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh ( and how it is under enormous threat today). Recognized as a @RamsarConv site in 2002, it is formed by the waters of the upper lake (bada talaab).
The Bhojtal was created by Paramara Raja Bhoj (1005-1055), ruler of Malwa. The upper lake was created by constructing an earthen dam across the Kolans River. The lakes are home to diverse flora and fauna, including many waterbirds. PC: Reddit
The site is home to 223 different species of water plants. Out of these 223, around 103 species have been declared rare by the International Union For Conservation of Nature. Wolffia globosa. world’s smallest plant is also found here.
As per @WWFINDIA, a total of more than 20,000 birds have been observed annually. White stork, black necked stork, bareheaded goose, spoonbill, etc., which have been rare sightings in the past have started appearing evidentially in recent times in Bhojtal.
However, in recent times, rapid urbanization & poor governance has created some serious challenges for the Ramsar site. As per the MPPCB analysis, one glass of water from the upper lake now contains one lakh bacteria, raising serious concerns about water quality.
Several areas of Bhopal city gets water supply from the upper lake, especially in summers. As a result, the upper lake is referred to as the lifeline of the city. Garbage disposal, air pollution and illegal construction are other serious problems facing the Bhojtal wetland.
Moreover, the new Bhopal Master Plan 2031 has been a subject of criticism as it allows more construction around the lake, thereby reducing the green belt. Plan puts the catchment area of the lake at risk. Civil society has alleged the involvement of the real estate mafia.
Bhojtal has been central to the existence of the capital city, Bhopal. Govt’s callous approach to allow unregulated construction and encroachment will destroy the sensitive ecosystem. Photos by: @Writer_Rishabh @Indian_Rivers @JamwalNidhi