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Wetlands Day: Tapping methane gas from Loktak Lake under study

 Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 02 2019: State Wetland Authority, Manipur, convener Dr T Brajakumar has conveyed that the State Wetland Authority is planning to conduct a scientific study for tapping methane gas from Loktak Lake. Speaking at the World Wetlands Day Observation under the theme "Loktak Lake for Our Future Generations" which was organized by All Loktak Lake Areas Fisherman Union Manipur (ALLAFUM) at Langolsabi Champu Khangpok Floating Village, Loktak today, Brajakumar (who is also the Deputy Director of Department of Environment, Manipur) went on to inform that sophisticated tools for conducting the scientific study have already been ordered from outside the State and it (the scientific study) will be initiated once the tools reach the State. If the scientific study is a success, the tapped/extracted methane gas from Loktak Lake can be used for many useful purposes, he added. Stating that the Central Government had approved the State Government's proposed project for cleaning solid waste from Nambul River and that the said work will begin this year, the convener exuded confidence that pollution level at Loktak Lake will be minimized to a great extent if the said project is completed. Reminding that World Wetlands Day is celebrated on February 2 every year under different themes to mark the date of adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar, Brajakumar also highlighted that this year's theme for the observation of World Wetlands Day is "Wetlands and Climate Change" . INTACH, Manipur Chapter Convener Dr RK Ranjan opined that the condition of Loktak Lake has changed immensely compared to the past. He further pointed out that the number of migratory birds coming to Loktak Lake has drastically declined in the last few years while informing that British environmentalist Humes had given an account of finding more than 30,000 birds and a large number of species in the same lake, during the 1930s.The commissioning of the Loktak Hydro Electricity Power Project and Ithai Barrage project have led to immense and adverse impacts to Loktak Lake as well as to its surrounding villages causing the disappearance of many indigenous fish species/varieties apart from submerging large areas of cultivable lands/paddy fields in the surrounding villages, he said. While maintaining that Manipur no longer has food security due to extinction of cultivable lands, he also contended that demanding right to food security will be quite beneficial towards the conservation of Loktak Lake. He then observed that the proposal for construction of ring roads nearby Loktak Lake will amount to destruction of the lake's ecosystem. ALLAFUM advisor Kh Ibochou said that the Government has not attended to the issue of ever increasing siltation in Loktak Lake due to draining of solid waste materials from major rivers like Nambul River. He continued that the Government has been putting efforts on cleaning useful phumdis but the unwanted phumdis have not been cleared. Saying that the Government is introducing mechanized boats in the name of developing Inland Waterways Transport System at Loktak Lake, the advisor noted that mechanized boats emits lots of oily residues which will increase the pollution level. Noting that Loktak Lake is providing a source of livelihood for many fishermen apart from being a prestigious natural gift to all Manipuris, Ibochou asserted that the World Wetlands Day observation was organized with the main objective of preserving Loktak Lake. Imphal Free Press Editor Pradeep Phanjoubam, MU Professor W Vishwanath and Green Foundation member Thiyam Rinita, among others, also attended the function as presidium members.