Penalty on Kerala for failure to protect Ramsar Sites
Ecology and Environment
31st Mar, 2023
The Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a penalty of ?10 crore on the Kerala government for its failure to check the indiscriminate pollution of the listed Ramsar sites.
Key-highlights of the Order:
- The order by NGT was made in lines with a petition alleging failure of statutory and administrative authorities in taking remedial action for protection of the Vembanad and Ashtamudi lakes hit by illegal waste dumping.
Polluter pays principle:
The 'polluter pays' principle is the commonly accepted practice that those who produce pollution should bear the costs of managing it to prevent damage to human health or the environment.
- The penalty was imposed on the basis of the ‘polluter pays principle’ which had to be deposited in a ring-fenced account to be operated under the authority of the Chief Secretary.
- The penalty of ?10 crore has been imposed which had to be made within a month.
- The penalty will be utilised for conservation/restoration measures by preparing an action plan to be preferably executed within six months.
About Ramsar Sites:
- These are wetlands deemed to be of "international importance" under the Ramsar Convention.
- It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the convention was signed in
- Ramsar sites are trans-boundary in which case more than one Contracting Party is responsible for their conservation and management.
- The inclusion in the list is for-
- the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands,
- recognizing the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their
- Economic value
- Cultural value
- Scientific value
- Recreational value
- It is also known as the Convention on Wetlands.
- This is the largest lake in Kerala and the longest Lake in India.
- The lake has its source in four rivers, Meenachil, Achankovil, Pampa and Manimala
- In 2002, it was included in the list of wetlands of international importance, as defined by the Ramsar Convention.
- It is the second-largest Ramsar site in India only after the Sundarbans in West Bengal.
- The Kumarakom Bird Sanctuary is located on the east coast of the lake.
- In 2019, Willingdon Island, a seaport located in the city of Kochi, was carved out of Vembanad Lake.
- Ashtamudi Lake is a large freshwater lake located in the Kollam district of Kerala, India.
- It is known for its unique ecosystem and biodiversity, and is an important tourist destination in the region.
- Ashtamudi Lake is significant because it has been recognized as a Ramsar site, which is a wetland site, designated of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
- The lake also plays an important role in supporting the livelihoods of local communities through fishing and tourism.