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UDHAGAMANDALAM, November 9, 2012
A sparrow garden springs up in Ooty
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‘Sparrow is a very important part of the eco system’
Bird loverSharan Deep Singh placing nests for sparrows at the Five Lanterns junction in Udhagamandalam.Photo:M Sathyamoorthy
The Five Lanterns Junction, one of the most crowded parts of this hill station which has for long been associated with chaotic and noisy scenes witnessed a heartening development on Wednesday.
Encouraged by autorickshaw drivers in the area, a bird lover Sharan Deep Singh climbed a tree inside a small traffic garden and placed a few mud pots with holes for sparrows to nest.
Later speaking to The Hindu , Mr. Singh, a resident of Kotagiri, said that it was part of his initiative to conserve sparrows.
Pointing out that the sparrow is a very important part of the eco system, he regretted that over the last three decades they have been more or less wiped out in Punjab, Haryana and some parts of North India. Sparrows have become an extremely rare sight in Punjab due to the indiscriminate use of pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers, pollution caused by automobiles and factories and mushrooming constructions.
Lamenting that not only in the North but also in other parts of the country use of toxins is on the rise, he said that certain species of birds, honeybees and fireflies have vanished.
Expressing the hope that those at the helm of affairs and the people would view the development as a ‘red flag warning’, Mr. Singh cautioned that the ‘air we breathe and food we eat is no longer safe’.
Efforts to protect the environment, the degradation of which is leading to the extinction of birds like sparrows are conspicuous by their absence.
To a query, he said that the population of sparrows in the municipal market and its surroundings like the Five Lanterns Junction here is healthy.
However, they can do with some help. It is a fine example of co-existence.
One of the reasons for the high number of sparrows in the market is that the use of harmful chemicals is less when compared to the vegetable fields in various parts of the Nilgiris.
Research has shown that consumption of contaminated water leads to maladies like cancer and also birth defects. Groundwater has been affected.
Suggesting that the traffic garden should be named, “Sparrow Garden”, Mr. Singh acknowledged the help being extended by traders in the area in maintaining it and hoped that the nests will not be vandalized. They should be treated in the same manner as, “we treat our houses”. Lauding the gesture, P.J. Vasanthan, a noted bird watcher, said that such values are hard to come by.