On Monday — International Biodiversity Day, Bengal’s environment minister, Manas Ranjan Bhunia, inaugurated the portal, which will give details of the biodiversity in each district of Bengal to create an awareness about its preservation.
The minister demanded the inclusion of biodiversity as a curriculum in high school, undergraduate and postgraduate syllabi. “Biodiversity will be an interdisciplinary study to bridge the gap between botany and zoology. Unless we include biodiversity in the school curriculum, we will lose out on many things before we could understand them,” he said.
MP and member of the parliamentary standing committee on the environment Jawhar Sircar lauded the activities of the board. “In the Parliament, we get an impression that Bengal does care about its unique biodiversity. Today, I am happy to know that so many good works are being done and Bengal has the highest number of biodiversity heritage parks,” Sircar said.
“People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR) is designed as a tool for the formal maintenance of the local knowledge with proper validation of the biodiversity. PBR is a record of knowledge, perception and attitude of people about natural resources, plants and animals, their utilization and the conservation of biodiversity in a village or a Panchayat level. In Bengal, 3,830 PBRs are working,” said Bengal Biodiversity Board chairman, H S Debnath.
Apart from losses, new species have also emerged. “In the East Kolkata Wetlands, we have got some new species. In the portal, all the species will be put against the name of their discoverers,” said Debnath.
According to Anjal Prakash, research director with the Bharti Institute of Public Policy, Indian School of Business, climate change is expected to lead to the loss of many species. “This could have significant implications for ecosystems as well as for human livelihoods,” said Prakash.