Biodiversity plays a critical role in sustaining human populations across the globe. Biodiversity enhances ecosystem productivity where each species, no matter how small, has an important role to play. Conservation and sustainable use of Biodiversity is now the need of the hour to meet the increasing food, health, and other needs of the growing world population. It is an advantage for HEL that it is not adjacent to protected areas, sanctuaries or reserve forests . HEL takes an active role for protection of local biodiversity. Many initiatives have been taken at HEL to support local variety of flora & fauna like Biodiversity Mapping, Avifauna studies, Butterfly Conservation and Plantation. Details of the various initiatives taken are given below:
Green vegetation cover is beneficial in many ways as it leads to conservation of biodiversity, retention of soil moisture, recharge of groundwater ,maintaining a pleasant climate of the area, and providing possible habitats for birds & animals. The development of a green belt in three tiers along the periphery of the plant covering around 33% of the area is the most important initiative from biodiversity angle. Haldia Energy Limited hasalready planted more than one lakh trees and the number is increasing every year. Regular plantation programs are also being carried out by various local Eco Clubs under the project “BASUNDHARA”.
As an integral part of biodiversity conservation, Haldia Energy Limited, under its RISHIKRISHI project, has set up a medicinal plant garden within the plant. The garden now has as many as 80 varieties of medicinal plants, herbs, shrubs and trees. A team of gardeners specially trained for farming such plants is deployed for proper care of the garden. Organic farming is practiced and organic pesticides specially manufactured for herbal plants are used. The manure for the garden is made in house from the automatic organic composter, which reuses the canteen kitchen and garden wastes of the plant.
Birds are natural indicators of Environmental Quality and any impact on the fragile Ecosystem is very much reflected in the habitat of birds. A rich variety of resident and migratory birds have been observed within the HEL plant premises which firmly denotes good Environmental conditions and habitat conservation. HEL protects and provides safe breeding spaces inside the plant area.
38 bird species belonging to 30 families have been sighted in side HEL during a short survey in winter.Migratory species like Common Kestrel, Green Sand Piper & Brown Shrike have been spotted.
Large numbers of Lesser Whistling Teals (Derndrocygna Javanica) were recorded from the water bodies of the HEL plant. These are resident species with population subject to large-scale local migration during winter.
The Butterfly garden accommodates more than 50 types of host plants and nectar plants in the open air butterfly conservation park ”Titli Rani”. The project accommodates 50 types of host plants and nectar plants. The plants provide healthy nectar and the proper atmosphere for laying eggs and developing Caterpillar. Till date almost 17 types of butterfliy species belong to five families have been observed in the garden. Common Grass Yellow,Common Gull Psyche,Indian Wanderer,Common Jay,Lime Butterfly,Dark Grass Blue,Pale Grass Blue,Common/Striped Tiger,Blue Tiger,Plain Tiger,Common Crow,Dark Evening Brown,Grey pansy,Peacock Pansy,Common Castor,Small branded Swift etc. are the prominent species which have been visiting the garden on a regular basis..
Till date, almost 30 types of butterflies have been observed in the garden. Blue Tiger, Plain Tiger, Striped Tiger, Common Crow, Gaudy Baron, Common Baron, Grey Pansy, Common Snow Flat, Grass Demon, Tawny Coster, Common Mime, Monkey Puzzle, Common Pierrot, Common Mormon, Common Jay, Common Jezebel, Tailed Jay , Common Wander etc. are the prominent species which have been visiting the garden on a regular basis.
There is no wildlife in Haldia due to the complete absence of natural forest cover. However, HEL provides a safe and secure habitat for various mammalian species like Golden Jackal ( Canis aureus),Jungle Cat (Felis chaus),and Small Indian Civet (Viverricula indica) which roam freely within the plant.
This variety of jackal is found all across the green belt area of HEL. Typically, Golden Jackals are nocturnal animals but there is increased diurnal activity in places where they have a sizable population and have a sense of security.
Awareness programmes create opportunities for the school students to actively participate in environmental management issues and contribute their creative ideas and suggestions for biodiversity & environment conservation. The Eco Clubs in different schools at Haldia also participate in programs like plantation activities and take care of environment under the project “BASUNDHARA”.