Restoring Kol-e-Hashmat Khan as a Stopover for Migratory BirdsJul 25, 2017
Kool-e-Hashmat Khan, once a natural wetland inhabiting 157 species of migratory birds, and a recreational site for residents of Kabul city, has lost most of its birds over the last few decades of unrest due to poor attention from previous governments and illegal encroachments by neighboring communities.
The wetland is now surrounded by auto repair workshops, a livestock auction house, and many other business activities, grabbing nearly 11 out of its 190 hectares of land. Wastes produced by these activities are dumped in the wetland.
In June this year, the Afghan Government declared Kol-e-Hashmat Khan as a protected area, making it the sixth protected site in the country after Band-e-Amir National Park and Shah Foladi in Bamyan, and Big Pamir Wildlife Reserve, Teggermansu Wildlife Reserve and Wakhan Conservation in Badakhshan.
Even at this stage, there are good chances of saving this ecologically important site. The Ministry of Agriculture, looking after the wetland, has recorded 107 species of birds still coming to the site, but their number has gradually reduced due to lack of water and accumulation of wastes suppressing the growth of reeds where the birds inhabit.
The United Nations Development Programme and GEF’s Small Grants Programme has engaged communities living near the wetland in properly disposing their wastes and converting their kitchen leftovers into fertilizer. To ensure a steady flow of water into the wetland, UNDP works with a community-based organization to clean and repair a canal that streams into the wetland from Logar River in east of Kabul city. These activities are intended to speed up the site’s restoration work.
Farhad Zalmi from UNDP has spoken with Ariana Television Network on how Kol-e-Hashmat Khan can be restored as a natural stopover for migratory birds.