Your Guide To World Wetlands Day

The second of February is marked as World Wetlands Day, and this year's theme is Wetlands and Water Management
The Deepor Beel in Assam is the state's only Ramsar Site. Credit / cyberswarup
The Deepor Beel in Assam is the state's only Ramsar Site. Credit / cyberswarup

Today is the annual World Wetlands Day, and it is observed to raise awareness about the importance of wetlands for humanity and the planet. The second of February was established as the date by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971 to highlight the value of wetlands for biodiversity, water management, and as a source of livelihood for local communities. The theme for World Wetlands Day changes every year and is selected to focus attention on a particular aspect of wetland conservation and management. This year the theme is "Wetlands and Water Management".

Wetlands Wise

A wetland is an ecosystem characterised by soil saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally. It supports aquatic plants and wildlife. Wetlands play vital roles in water management, carbon gathering, and supporting biodiversity. A lot of migratory birds which fly into India, and which we get rapturous over, land at wetlands across the country. Wetlands include marshes, swamps, and bogs too.

The Lifeline

This year's focus on wetlands highlights the crucial role that wetlands play in managing and regulating water supplies, reducing the impacts of floods and droughts, and improving water quality. It also emphasises the importance of integrating wetland management into sustainable water resource planning and management. World Wetland Day is primarily an occasion to raise awareness about the need to protect and restore wetlands and their vital services.

Plans To Preserve Union Budget of 2023

That the importance of wetlands is of deep concern to the government can be judged by the fact that conservation of the environment has found place in the Union Budget of 2023. There are two prominent schemes, the Amrit Dharohar Scheme for wetlands and MISHTI (Mangrove Initiative for Shoreline Habitats and Tangible Income). Both projects aim to achieve sustainable ecosystem development to fight climate change with the help of local communities and are under the aegis of Green Growth, one of the seven priorities of the Union Budget.

Listed And Protected

Some of the important wetlands in India include the Hokersar Wetlands Reserve in Kashmir, the Yamuna Biodiversity Park in New Delhi, the Ropar Wetland in Punjab, the Sarus Crane Conservation Reserve in Uttar Pradesh, the Keoladeo National Park, and the Sambhar Lake in Rajasthan, the Thane Creek in Maharashtra, the Chilika Lake in Odisha, the Bhitarkanika Mangroves in Odisha, the Kumarakom and Vembanad lakes in Kerala, the Kolleru Bird Sanctuary, the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary, and Pulicat Lake in Andhra Pradesh, the Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, the East Kolkata Wetlands in West Bengal, and the Deepor Beel Wildlife Sanctuary, the Dihing-Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, Majuli Island, the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam, and the Keibul Lamjao National Park in Manipur. There are many more which add to the incredible bio-diversity of India.

Curb The Threats

Despite their importance, many wetlands in India are under threat from human activities, such as land reclamation, pollution, and over-extraction of water. It is essential to protect and restore these valuable ecosystems to benefit present and future generations.

Be Responsible Conserve And Create

Here are a few ways by which we can ensure that wetlands remain protected. In all of these, the efforts of the local population play a huge role. Their involvement in spreading conservation awareness locally and to tourists almost ensures the implementation of all rules. 

Protect wetlands from development and land reclamation through policies and strict laws. 

Control pollution via agricultural runoff, sewage, industrial discharge, etc., and restore the water quality of wetlands.

Re-establish the damaged wetlands and reinstate their ecological functions. 

Promote sustainable use of wetland resources by adopting best practices in agriculture, fishing, and responsible tourism and promoting sustainable energy production.

Implement international agreements such as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which provides a framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands.

For more information, check the website and this.   

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