Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

Turtle Rehabilitation: A Crucial Element in Ganges Conservation


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Turtle Rehabilitation

Mains level: Not Muchga


Central Idea

  • Hundreds of turtles will be released into the river as a joint endeavour between the Namami Gange Programme, the Forest and Wildlife Department, and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).
  • These turtles, hatched at a breeding and rehabilitation center in Varanasi, aim to contribute to the cleanliness and rejuvenation of the sacred Ganges.

Turtle Rehabilitation Center: A Crucial Element in Ganges Conservation

  • Significance: The turtle rehabilitation center in Varanasi, established under the Ganga Action Plan (GAP) in the late 1980s, plays a pivotal role in the conservation of the Ganges River.
  • Achievements: Over 40,000 turtles have been released from the center, with approximately 28,000 turtles released during the initial phase of the GAP.
  • Renewed Focus: The center has gained renewed attention and support following the launch of the Namami Gange Programme in 2014, a flagship initiative of the Central government aimed at combating pollution and restoring the river’s ecological balance.

Strengthening the Ganges Clean-up Efforts

  • Turtle Population: The center nurtures around a dozen turtle species, including herbivores and carnivores, which are vital in maintaining a balanced ecosystem.
  • Collection of Eggs: The Forest and Wildlife Department collects turtle eggs from the coastal areas of the Chambal region.
  • Controlled Hatching Process: The eggs are carefully monitored for 70 days in a specially designed room for hatching. They are buried in sand-filled wooden boxes placed on a water-filled ground with bricks on top.
  • Monitoring and Care: After hatching between June and July, the turtles are observed and nurtured in an artificial pond for two years to ensure their health and readiness for release into the river.

Role of Turtles in Ganges Restoration

  • Impact on Water Quality: Turtles contribute to improving the quality of the Ganges by feeding on meat and waste products present in the river.
  • Positive Indicators: Water quality assessments conducted by the Namami Gange Programme reveal improvements in biochemical demand (BOD), faecal coliform (FC), and dissolved oxygen (DO) levels.
  • Government’s Findings: The Uttar Pradesh Government confirmed that the pH levels at various locations, including Varanasi, meet bathing water quality criteria, while DO, BOD, and FC levels have shown improvement at 16, 14, and 18 out of 20 locations, respectively.

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