This duo is on a mission to make Odisha beaches safe for endangered Olive Ridley turtles
According to reports, nearly eight million metric tonnes of plastic waste end up in oceans every year. As per Ocean Conservancy, plastic impacts nearly 700 aquatic species in oceans across the globe. The plastic waste that enters the oceans get consumed by almost 60 percent seabirds and almost all sea turtles.
Realising the threat to marine life, especially Olive Ridley turtles, Soumya Ranjan Biswal (22) and Dilip Kumar Biswal (20) from Odisha decided to address the issue by trying to save these aquatic creatures.
Dilip Kumar Biswal (left) and Soumya Ranjan Biswal (right) (Image: Edex Live)
The duo is creating a safe environment for Olive Ridley turtles, which hatch anywhere between 70 and 190 eggs on the beach during the season, by ensuring they don’t get strangled by consuming the discarded plastic waste.
According to Soumya, it is more of a passion than a job for him, who has been doing this since he was 10, without any gains or recognition.
Soumya patrols the beach during the nights for a month during the nesting season, which is during the end of February or early March, along with his friends to save the eggs, which are vulnerable to poachers and predators like dogs, jackals, and other birds and animals.
(Image: Edex Live)
In order to create awareness to save the endangered species, the duo has also taken out cycling rallies in the coastal areas. While Soumya cycles through the routes, Dilip, on the other hand, dons the Olive Ridley turtle costume.
Recently, both cycled through Rushikulya, Puri, Chilika, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, and Balasore in Odisha to create awareness about protecting Olive Ridleys.
The duo also stopped at government schools to teach kids about the importance of saving turtles and other aquatic life, reports Edex Live.
Soumya and Dilip are also undertaking cleaning activity near the beaches to prepare it for Olive Ridleys to hatch their eggs.
An awareness campaign (Image: The Hindu Business Line)
The turtles come to beaches and choose their spots to lay eggs by digging up pits with their flippers. As these spots are not very safe, Soumya and other forest officials get together and collect these eggs and relocate them safely to nearby hatcheries. After 45 to 60 days, once the hatchlings emerge, they are released into the sea at Astaranga beach.
Apart from saving turtles, during the non-nesting season, Dilip and Soumya work towards saving the mangrove forests, and organise climate change awareness campaigns as well. They also dig up water holes during the summer to ensure the wildlife population has a drinking source in the forest.
Speaking with The Hindu Business Line, Soumya said,
“After cyclone Fani and the massive destruction it caused, we are now working on rebuilding the coastal areas and planting trees that will act as a buffer and reduce the impact of cyclone and storms.”