Wed. Aug 17th, 2022
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NEW DELHI: Five more wetlands of India have got international importance tag of Ramsar sites, making it a total of 54 such spots in the country.
The newly designated sites are Karikili Bird Sanctuary, Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve Forest and Pichavaram Mangrove in Tamil Nadu; Pala wetland in Mizoram; and Sakhya Sagar in Madhya Pradesh.
These five Ramsar sites are among the list of over two dozen sites from across the country which India has been pushing to get them designated under Ramsar Convention — an intergovernmental global treaty to preserve ecological character of selected wetlands across the globe. Once accepted, the total number of such wetlands in India will be 75 this year when the country completes 75 years of its independence.

The convention to protect wetlands was signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971. Member countries, including India, under the convention identify the sites which can be of significant value for their eco-services and rich biodiversity. Globally, there are currently about 2,500 sites in the list.
The wetlands – land areas covered by water, either seasonally or permanently – play a key role in flood control and as sources of water, food, fibre and raw materials. Besides, such land areas also support mangroves that protect coastlines and filter pollutants.
India’s space agency, ISRO, has mapped the country’s wetlands, covering 15.98 million hectares which is around 4.86% of the total geographic area of the country. A total of 2,31,195 wetlands (area >= 2.25 ha) have been mapped at 1:50,000 scale during 2017-18.
Any kind of encroachment, setting up of industry, expansion of existing industries, solid waste dumping, discharge of untreated wastes and effluents, poaching and any construction of a permanent nature are among the activities which are prohibited within the wetlands.
Chilika lake areas (Odisha), Wular lake (J&K), Renuka (Himachal Pradesh), Sambhar lake (Rajasthan), Deepor Beel (Assam), East Kolkata wetlands (West Bengal), Nal Sarovar (Gujarat), Harika (Punjab), Rudra Sagar (Tripura) and Bhoj wetland (Madhya Pradesh) are among the country’s prominent wetlands which are in the list of Ramsar sites.
The environment ministry is currently implementing a centrally sponsored scheme namely National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems (NPCA) for conservation and management of identified wetlands (including lakes) in the country on cost-sharing basis between central government and respective state governments.
The scheme covers various activities such as interception, diversion and treatment of wastewater, shoreline protection, lake front development, in-situ cleaning i.e., desilting and de-weeding, storm water management, bioremediation, catchment area treatment, lake beautification, survey and demarcation, bio-fencing, fisheries development, weed control and biodiversity conservation.

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