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Deeper links between shrinking wetlands, environmental imbalance, and natural disaster

  • Category
    Contemporary Issues
  • Published
    27th Jul, 2020

The rapid development is also rapidly violating the environment. The development has provided us with facilities, but their disadvantages are also being seen in society and nature. Modern development has caused the most damage to our environment and wetlands.

  • The rapid development is also rapidly violating the environment. The development has provided us with facilities, but their disadvantages are also being seen in society and nature. Modern development has caused the most damage to our environment and wetlands.

Human Causes

  • The sewage from the factories, mining, and excessive exploitation of groundwater are some of the human causes that have caused great damage to wetlands.
  • At the same time, wetlands are losing their true form due to natural causes like sea-level rise, climate change, storms, etc.

Example of Jharkhand

    • According to environmental institutions, Jharkhand has about 25 per cent of the land wetlands. Out of which12 per cent has been encroched.
    • Buildings have been constructed by filling these wetlands. Many of these are government buildings. Thus, In addition to geo-mafias, government departments are also responsible for ending the existence of ponds.
    • Any construction work is also prohibited within a radius of at least 200 metres from the last end of the wetland area.

Shrinking water sources

  • Sources of fresh drinking water worldwide are rapidly depleting, causing a crisis for human life on Earth in the near future.
  • Urbanization, industrialization, increasing demand for land for roads, rail routes, etc., the rapid expansion of agriculture has eliminated 35 percent of water sources like lakes, rivers, swamps, and trenches between 1970 and 2015.
  • The water sources, considered to be extremely important to the world's ecosystem, are spread over 12 million square kilometers worldwide.
  • But, since 2000, the rate of decline has increased rapidly.
  • The global assessment has identified wetlands as the most at-risk ecosystem.

                                                 World Wetland Day

    • World Wetland Day is celebrated on February 2.
    • It aims to spread awareness about the importance of wetlands such as marshes and mangroves in the face of global warming.
    • The theme of World Wetlands Day for 2020 this year was 'Wetlands and Biodiversity'.
  • According to UNESCO, it affects 40% of the world's flora and fauna inhabit or breed in wetlands.

What is a Wetland?

  • Submerged lands are called wetlands. Natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, full-term humid or short-term, stable water or unstable water, clean water or unclean, saline, muddy water- all these water sites are covered under wetland.
  • Seawater, where the depth of efflux water does not exceed six meters, is also called wetland.
  • Thus, water-rich marshy forest land (Swamps), marshy bush-rich sites (Marsh),  grass-rich marshy marshes, water-logged grassland (bogs) mineral-rich wetlands (Fens) rotten-necked vegetation wetlands (Peatland) swamps, rivers, lakes, flood areas, flooded forests, seaside bushed sites (Mangroves) Delta, paddy fields, coral reefs, dams, canal waterfalls, desert waterfalls, glaciers, seashore tides, etc all these areas are called wetlands.
  • Humanized artificial water sites like fisheries, reservoirs, etc. also come under the definition of a wetland.
  • Each wetland has its own ecosystem, biodiversity, and vegetative diversity. These wetlands are habitats of aquatic animals, birds, etc.

Importance of Wetlands

  • Wetlands are called kidneys of the biosphere, which perform an accumulation, biological, geochemical, hydrology, climate, and gas control functions.
  • Wetland systems are of great importance for maintaining the stability of ecosystems and preserving the biological diversity of plant species that grow thereon.
  • In fact, wetlands are a specific type of ecosystem and an important part of biodiversity. Being a meeting point of aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity, the wetland is a rich ecosystem with an abundance of wild animal species and flora.
  • More than 40 percent of the species live in wetlands and are nourished through them.
  • Wetland is an extremely productive aquatic ecosystem. Wetlands not only store and preserve water but also reduce the flood menace by y covering the water in addition to the flood.
  • Wetland serves as a natural and efficient carbon sink. For example, swampy moss is spread over only 3% of the land, but it has the potential to absorb carbon in just twice as much as all forests in the world.

Conclusion

  • India is a signatory to the Ramsar Convention (February 1982), an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. The country has only 26 sites designated as wetlands of international importance, with a surface area of 689,131 hectares, whereas a much smaller country like the UK has 169 Ramsar sites. Even these 26 sites are plagued by uncontrolled development and illegal encroachment.
  • 90% of the world's disasters are water-related and affect 60% of people living in coastal areas with floods or tsunamis. Wetlands act as buffers against climate-related disasters, the way to avoid the accidental effects of climate change.

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