Pushpa Gujral Science City celebrated International Biodiversity Day by holding series of webinars for students and general public from May 20-22, 2021. These webinars were supported by Punjab Biodiversity Board and National Biodiversity Authority.
The first webinar in this series was organized on 20.05.2021 on “Diversity in Butterflies & Moths and their role in Ecosystem”. Dr.H.S Rose, Former Pro-Chancellor, Guru Kashi University, Talwandi Sabo was the key speaker. He discussed about the huge diversity in butterflies and moths species and their role in our ecosystem as a pollinator, a food source and an indicator of the ecosystem's well-being. Around 300 students and teachers from all over Punjab participated on this occasion.
A second webinar of the series was organized on 21.05.2021 on “Saving the Asian Vulture”. Dr. Munir Virani, Executive Vice President at The Peregrine Fund - World Center for Birds of Prey (from USA), was the key speaker. He emphasized that the population of three Gyps vultures in South Asia declined by about 95% in the 1990s and further, South Asia’s vulture population fell abruptly chiefly due to an anti-inflammatory drug called diclofenac once usually administered on cattle. Vultures that scavenged on cattle carcasses that contained traces of the drug often died from toxicity and kidney failure. More than 300 college and school students, teachers, foresters, researchers, bird watchers and environmentalists participated from all over Northern India.
On 22.05.2021 on the occasion of International Biodiversity Day, a third webinar of the series on “Medicinal Plants Diversity” by Dr. Sudhir Mahotra, a conservationist and Retd. Medical officer from Department of Ayurveda was conducted. Around 300 students and teachers from all over Punjab participated on this occasion.
Another webinar on “Industry and Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) provisions under the Biological Diversity Act” was organized in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on 22.05.2021. It was attended by about 300 industrialists, experts, researchers, Biology students and teachers from across the country. Dr. V.B. Mathur, Chairman, National Biodiversity Authority, was the Chief Guest. He emphasized that ABS could become a powerful tool to achieve the objectives of conservation and sustainable use of bio-resources. Mr. Bhavdeep Sardana, Eminent Industrialist and Chairman, CII Punjab, said like many key resources in the world, biodiversity resources were not evenly distributed and countries rich in bio-resources needed to use them judiciously to ensure sustainable economic growth. Mr. J Justin Mohan, Secretary, National Biodiversity Authority, highlighted the importance of awareness on procedures for gaining access to genetic resources and the provisions under the ABS guidelines. Dr Neelima Jerath, Director General, Pushpa Gujral Science City, informed that it has been estimated that bio-resources provide services worth US$125 trillion per annum globally. Hence, there is importance of recognising sovereign rights of every country on its biological resources. Dr Geetha Nayak, GIZ, emphasised that protecting nature supports global economy, creates jobs and protects livelihoods. An investment of $1 in conservation can yield a return of $9. Access and benefit sharing is therefore, integral to the sustainability of bio-resource-based industry. Mr. Sanjay Kumar, Country Manager of Valagro Biosciences, Hyderabad, which received the India Biodiversity Award, 2021 in the ABS category, said the aim of ABS was to enable fair distribution of benefits between the users and providers so as to open the doors for innovation, as well as create incentives for conservation. Dr. Jatinder Kaur Arora, Member Secretary, Punjab Biodiversity Board (PBB) highlighted the role being played by PBB for conservation of wild and domesticated flora and fauna in the state with the prime object to promote sustainable utilization of biological resources.
An e-book on “Birds at Pushpa Gujral Science City” was released on the occasion.
An online Essay Writing Competition for students was also conducted and about 185 entries were received from school students even from the other states like Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Uttrakhand etc.
Result of Essay Writing Competition
Aarushi from Cambridge International School for Girls, Urban Estate Phase-II, Jalandhar
Manmeet Kaur from DRV DAV Centenary Public School, Phillaur, Jalandhar
Anik Panda from Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 2, Nausenabaugh, Visakhapatnam
Suchreet Kaur from Delhi Public School, Patiala
Namya Joshi from Sat Paul Mittal School, Ludhiana
Kashish Singla from Delhi Public School, Patiala, Punjab
Yashkaran Rattu from DSSD School, Sodal Road, Jalandhar
Venus Thapa from Army Public School, Clement Town, Dehradun
Rakhi Dhapola from Army Public School, Clement Town, Dehradun
Aayush Kumar Jha from Sri Krishna Public School, Jamshedpur