Water is the foundation of life. And still today, all around the world, far too many people spend their entire day searching for it. – The Water Project
Phobjikha valley in Wangduephodrang is known for having one of the largest high altitude wetland in the country. The pristine wetland is fed by numerous seasonal and perennial streams flowing from the surrounding mountains. Besides number of important functions in an ecosystem, the wetland in Phobjikha is a winter home for more than 350 Black-necked Cranes.
Additionally, the stream flowing from the wetland is also one of the important sources of water for numerous existing and planned Hydro power plants down the river. Therefore, clean and undisturbed streams flowing into the wetland are essential for the preservation of this important aspect of the valley. However, with increasing population and developmental activities in the valley, the wetland is at a very high risk of drying up.
As a part of educating the residents of the valley on the importance of preserving the streams flowing into the wetland and the importance of wetland in an ecosystem, students of Phobjikha Middle Secondary School conducted a cleaning campaign of a stream in the valley. The selected perennial stream flowing between Phobjikha Forest Beat Office and Druk Seed Farm was found to be the most polluted by commuters and residents along the stream. Students collected four 100 kg sacks of garbage consisting of pet bottles, plastics, rags, shoes and glasses.
After cleaning the stream, the school decided to adopt the stream for maintaining cleanliness and for educating the communities of the valley. A signboard with the message on the impact of pollution and importance on conserving fresh water bodies was erected beside the stream. The school also pledged to clean the stream on a monthly basis and strictly monitor its cleanliness. The activity was funded by the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund (KNCF), a Japanese funding organization through the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) as a part of environment education and awareness program.