In news- As per the recent report Sambhar lake is fast losing its glory to illegal mining of salt, encroachments, increasing vegetation and declining migratory birds.
Key findings of the report
- The report was prepared by the department of environmental science at the Central University of Rajasthan.
- It claimed that by 2030 the lake will deteriorate to an extent of an ‘unrepairable’ situation causing an ecological imbalance in the entire region.
- The researchers have used the satellite imaging procured from the US government from the base year 1971 to 2021 to state that the wetland has decreased from 159.6 kilometres to just 17.4 kilometres in the same period.
- The report reveals that every year the lake is shrinking at the constant rate of 4.23% and going by this rate in 2059 it will completely disappear from the map.
- The next 8-9 years are important for conservation, else by 2030 it will achieve a stage that will make it impossible to even move an inch backwards.
- The report indicating major changes from 1971 to 2021 says that the wetland decreased by 142 kilometres.
- 30% of the Sambhar Lake’s area had been lost to mining and other activities, including the illegal salt pan encroachments.
- As per the scientific analysis of the four types of data- soil, water, birds, and remote sensing data, the researchers concluded that the situation is heading towards an environmental disaster leading to catastrophic for surrounding human habitat, flora and fauna.
- The study has recommended an urgent action to restore the lake’s ecosystem for protecting the birds and biodiversity as well as the salt production.
- The team has recommended that Sambhar Lake Development Authority should be formed by taking experts from multiple agencies.
About Sambhar Lake
- It is located in Rajasthan.
- The lake straddles Nagaur and Jaipur districts and borders on the Ajmer district.
- Sambhar Salt Lake is India’s largest saline lake and is the source of most of Rajasthan’s salt production.
- It surrounds the historical Sambhar Lake Town.
- It is surrounded by the Aravali hills on all sides.
- The lake receives water from six rivers: Mantha, Rupangarh, Khari, Khandela, Medtha and Samod.
- Lake has a 5700 square km catchment area.
- The lake is an extensive saline wetland, with water depth fluctuating from as few as 60 centimetres (24 in) during the dry season to about 3 meters (10 ft) at the end of the monsoon season.
- It occupies an area of 190 to 230 square kilometers based on the season.
Ecological significance of the lake
- Sambhar has been designated as a Ramsar site (recognized wetland of international importance) because the wetland is a key wintering area for tens of thousands of pink flamingos and other birds that migrate from northern Asia and Siberia.
- The specialized algae and bacteria growing in the lake provide striking water colours and support the lake ecology that, in turn, sustains the migrating waterfowl.
- There is other wildlife in the nearby forests, where Nilgai move freely along with deer and foxes.