Sunday, March 31, 2013

Working with WWF

I recently got an opportunity to work with WWF, needless to say it was a great privilege to get to work with them. As part of the assignment I got to see first hand the work they are doing under the "Rivers for Life" programme. 

Travelling and photographing the sites they work on was rewarding and challenging at the same time. As part of the assignment I got to visit one of the villages they have adopted, called Harnu, in UP near Kanpur, where they are working on reducing dependencies on river water for irrigation by creating water catchment areas. Another facet of the project is educating the farmers on usage of bio fertilizers and bio pesticides which do not pollute the water while enabling the framer to maintain similar yields as chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides. (It includes educating on how to make it and use it.)

I am no scientist nor do I have data, but first had interaction with the villagers suggests that the usage of the bio fertilizer and bio pesticide has improved crops yields and reduced the pest problems. (currently the pests are becoming resistant to the chemical pesticides) The villagers also found that the water requirement for bio fertilizer fields was lesser that chemical one and the crop had a higher shelf life. This has enabled the the farmers to get a higher price on their produce. 

Wheat Fields at Harnu

Trees on the banks of  Restored Wetland
Another story was that of a local entrepreneur who tired the bio pesticide and bio fertilizer on his own fields, saw it works and now makes it and markets it in and around his village. He and his wife have found an additional source of income from making the bio fertilizer and bio pesticide at home. 

Pancham Lal a local entrepreneur who makes the bio products
I also got to work with PC Anto an award winning documentary film maker who works with Banyan Tree Productions on social subjects. He recently made a film on the Ganga Dolphins. Here is a promo of the documentary. Do watch the whole documentary if you get an opportunity.

He is a fun person to work with and not a bad photographer himself. He and his cameraman Purushottam have been working for so long you can see the chemistry at work (It a lot of fun watching them work apart from the tremendous learning experience one gets at the same time)

Anto and Purushottam

Banks of a River stretch where conservation efforts are on save the Ganaga Dolphins

I also got to visit the sites where conservation efforts are on to save the dolphins. The last part of the journey involved visiting sites near Muradabad where there is extreme water pollution and it could use some help wrt clean up. (You can help too more on that in an upcoming blog post) 

A Villager on the Banks of the river near Moradabad
Villager Stands on the Banks of Ram Ganga new Moradabad

All in all a very educating experience. All I can say is every now and then you get to be a part of things which you never imagined would be possible and this was one of those instances. 

There are people who are involved in work and are making a difference and bloging about them would require a separate blog post on to itself, but Suresh Babu and Dr. Sandeep Behera do deserve a special mention and a big thanks to Garima Dimri for giving me this opportunity.

If you would like to know more check out the following links
Ganges River Dolphin

Celebrating Dolphins, Reviving Hope for the Ganga
Threats to Ganges River Dolphins