A message on conserving corals rides through Lakshadweep
Agatti, June 30, 2013: Earlier this month, as the World Oceans Day was celebrated internationally, a small group of enthusiasts including the Forest Department, local NGOs, fishermen and even the Police in Agatti, Lakshadweep islands, organised a rally to spread awareness on the plight of the corals.
The drive started early morning with over 100 cyclists riding across the Agatti island. The Environment Warden of Lakshadweep, Abdul Raheem, said, "It was a lovely event, where fishermen, policemen and many volunteers participated and stood up for the cause. People were out on the streets and waved flags as we went all through the tiny island.”
As the sun set, Raheem along with two police inspectors, A. Hussainali and P.P. Ashik, addressed a crowd of over 200 people at a sea side restaurant. Taking forward the famous UNEP's ‘Think.Eat.Save.’ campaign, they talked to the locals – especially fishermen – about the need to reduce waste to save the beautiful corals and marine life around Lakshadweep. They stressed to the fishermen the significance of corals in sustaining their livelihood.
WTI, through its Executive Director's Discretionary Grants, provided over 100 t-shirts to the volunteers to help spread the message of coral conservation. WTI has been working with the authorities and local people in Agatti island for the past two years, culturing Acropora corals for transplantation in Mithapur reef, where they have become locally extinct.
“No one really understands the ocean better than the communities that are dependent on it,” said Prof BC Choudhury, advisor to WTI. “The focus of such activities is to ensure that those whose lives are no longer dependent on the ocean – and those who have forgotten its value – are reminded to respect their environment.”
During March this year, the WTI team for the first time scientifically recorded coral spawning in Lakshadweep islands indicating a thriving marine ecosystem here.
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