Conference on Environment of Lonar and its planning

Environmental Scientists in Pune were brought together on one stage by organizations working on conservation of Lonar Crater Lake . Khagol Vishwa along with Jividha and Maharashtra Vriksha Sanvrdhini organized a conference on recent changes on ecosystem of Lonar and immediate planning over it.

Program started with the facilitation of guests and speakers. After that, there was presentation of a short film by Mr. Mayuresh Prabhune.  Film showed the latest evidences of the new organisms found in the Lonar Lake and how human interference is affecting the unique ecosystem of the lake.

First talk of conference was by Dr. P. K. Ghanekar. “First time when I went to Lonar there was a layer of salt on crater ground” said Dr. Ghanekar who is studying Lonar since 1973 “And eventually it has gone.” He emphasized on proper planning of relocating pachar talav. further he added that use of detergents for washing clothes in lake is also hazardous. Bats, wild cats living around the crater should also be considered as part of research. “There were hardly 10-15 people used to come to Worship goddess back that time and now it has gone up to 3 to 3.25 Lakhs. Farming, sewage water management is also major concerns. Plan of conserving Lonar should not hurt the sentiments of devotees and localities”.  He also suggested to build a museum and it should help Lonar in such a way that it should create awareness of its unique characteristics of lake.

Dr. Yogesh Shouche talked about the (National Center for Cell Science, Pune) NCCS’s work. When he came across the Lonar water first time its pH value was around 12 and now it has decreased to 10. “Considering the sample taken till date, there is possibility to find 100 to 200 microbes. Some of it can live in high temperature and radiations” said Dr. Shouche. For such research even (Indian Space Research Organization) ISRO funded some projects that mean even ISRO recognized importance of biodiversity in the lake. Dr. Shouche added  micro-ecosystem of Lonar can reveal the questions regarding life on other planets. For example Lonar was studied for research of life on the Mars. “This micro-ecosystem should be conserved and we should take initiative for this.”

Dr. Dilip Ranade officiating Director of Agharkar Research Institute- Pune also talked in conference. He has researched on anaerobic bacteria. “I personally faced problems in collecting samples from bottom of the lake; studying samples from there we can help to resolve mystery behind the life on the earth and this research work should be taken to international level.”

Dr. Hemant Ghate who identified the new organisms in samples taken by Khagol Vishwa in this month talked about creating awareness. He suggested if possible we can think about foreign collaboration. He will have to face the social economic problem during planning of conservation of Lonar.

 Dr. Arun Nigavekar is chairperson of Lonar conservation committee appointed by High Court. He recounted the issues and suggestions given by scientists in their talk and assured that this work will be taken ahead. He announced that work of collecting all published documents and store it in digital format on the website will be done by ‘Science and Technology Park, Pune.’ Further he said that Lonar should be developed as Tourist spot not only for crater but also as museum. There should be formation of one authority which can handle the issues with more legal capabilities. Dr Nigavekar stressed on the nature of report. Report committee will be practical to execute. Funds needed for the project will be clearly mentioned and time period as well.

The conference ended with thanksgiving.

But satisfaction of conference was in answer to alarming question. “Yes, Restoration of Lonar Lake is possible.”

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