In order to celebrate our vibrant biodiversity and illuminate its importance, a day-long National Seminar was jointly organized by the Department of Environmental Science and Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Maharshi Dyananad Saraswati University, Ajmer in Rajasthan. The National Seminar was organised on 22 May 2019, and celebrated the the International Day of Biological Diversity by raising awareness on the benefits of biodiversity and the large-scale threats being faced by wildlife.
The National Seminar was joined by eminent experts, field researchers and students from diverse background of Environmental Science, Zoology, Microbiology, Botany, Food Science and Nutrition along with various others scholars. The programme began with the ceremonial lighting of lamp to seek blessings of Goddess Saraswati.
The National Seminar was divided in two sessions. In the first session, the theme of International Day for Biological Diversity 2019, Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health was illustrated by the Head of Department of Food Science and Nutrition, Prof. Bharti Jain.
Prof. Jain also emphasized on the alarming rate at which our biodiversity is being exploited and misused for the sake of our selfishness. Prof. Praveen Mathur, Head of Department of Environmental Science, shed light on the severity of the situation. He highlighting the issue of the anticipated loss of avian fauna like Great Indian Bustard, the State Bird of Rajasthan.
Prof. Mathur did not shy away from alerting that one of the main reason of its decline is that it has been a preferred regional delicacy in many parts of the state. The Great Indian Bustard is now a Critically Endangered species and less than 250 of them are left in the wild today.
The Research Director and Head of Department of Microbiology, Prof. Ashish Bhatnagar focused on the present day necessity for sustainability in food production and its proper management to feed the exploding population of our country. Super foods like Broccoli, Quinoa, etc. were also discussed during the Workshop.
Prof. Ritu Mathur, Faculty of Department of Food Science and Nutrition, accentuated the medicinal marvels of plants which can be utilized for various common ailments in humans. The requirement of taking all the species into consideration including plants and microbial diversity while formulating conversational projects was suitably explained by Prof. Arvind Pareek, Head of Department of Botany. Prof. Pareek also shed light on the treasure of ancient knowledge in Vedic literature which is needed to be researched to sort out plans for the sustainable progression.
Prof. Subhash Chandra, Head of Department of Zoology, explained the exceeding loss of mammalian diversity in the state of Rajasthan. The second session initiated with various presentations focused on diet and nutrition to curb malnutrition in poverty stricken areas of our society by using sustainable practices which were discussed by Dr. Sangeeta Patan, Sakshi Pathak, Swati Mathur, Sangeeta Dhaka, Heena, Nikita Kanwar, Raunak Choudhary.
The Workshop also included presentations from Dr. Vivek Sharma, Divaker Yadav, Akansha Verma and Umesh Dutt for raising awareness and sensitization for conservation of wildlife. The presentations highlighted how various animals are still being hunting and are consumed as delicacies which has resulted in the speedy decline in their population.
The students, scholars and all other participants who attended the workshop took active participation in the discussions. The celebration of our biodiversity is a need in the present era to appreciate and maintain the diversity we possess. Only through knowledge and enlightenment can we bring consciousness at individual level to preserve and conserve the gift of biodiversity.
With inputs from Dr. Vivek Sharma.