7th Feb, 2019
The World Wetlands Day was celebrated on February 2, in Alappuzha, home to the country’s largest wetland system, the Vembanad Lake.
What is Wetland?
- It is a place where the land is covered by water, either fresh or salt. Low-lying areas like marshes and ponds, edges around the lakes or oceans, and the delta at the mouth of a river.
- For 2018- Wetlands for Sustainable Urban Future.
- For 2019- Wetlands and Climate Change
Why celebrated on 2nd February?
- The day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in, 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar.
- It commemorates the need to maintain wetlands and to plan for their sustainable use. It has been chosen to initiate action against the drainage of wetlands.
Role of wetlands:
- Wetlands store water and ensure its quality, providing resilience against drought.
- They provide diverse habitats which support genetic, species, and ecosystem biodiversity and play key roles in the life cycles of many species and in annual migration patterns.
- They protect against flooding and the impacts of storms.
- They provide food and other services such as transport and recreation.
What is the convention on Wetlands?
- It provides the framework for international cooperation and national action for the conservation and wise use of wetlands. Almost 90% of UN member states are Ramsar “Contracting Parties”.
- The Convention uses a broad definition of wetlands. It includes all lakes and rivers, underground aquifers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands, peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, mangroves and other coastal areas, coral reefs, and all human made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and salt pans.
- The Convention’s mission is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.
- The Convention has five formally recognized “International Organization Partners”, which provide expert technical advice and assistance in line with Convention principles:
- BirdLife International
- International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
- International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
- Wetlands International
- WWF International
Ramsar sites in India
- India currently has 27 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites).
From North to South
- Wular Lake (JK) 2. Hokera (JK) 3. Tsomoriri (JK) 4. Surin-Sar-Mansar (JK) 5. Chandertal (Himachal) 6. Pong Dam (Himachal) 7. Renuka (Himachal) 8.Kanjili (manmade Punjab) 9. Harike (Largest wetland of North India Punjab) 10. Ropar (Punjab) 11. Upper Ganga River Wetland (Uttar Pradesh) 12. Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan) 13. Sambar Lake (India’s Largest Inland Salt water lake Rajasthan) 14. Deepor Beel (Assam) 15. Loktak Lake (Manipur) 16. Rudrasagar Lake (Tripura) 17. Bhoj Wetland (Madhya Pradesh) 18. Nalsarovar (Gujarat) 19. East Calcutta Wetland (West Bengal) 20. Sundarban Wetland 21. Bhitarkanika (Odisha) 22. Chilka Lake (Odisha) 23. Kolleru (Andhra Pradesh) 24. Point Calimere (Tamil Nadu) 25. Vembanad Kol (Kerala) 26. Sasthamkota (Kerala) 27. Ashtamudi (Kerala)
- State with largest Ramsar sites ---Jammu and Kashmir (4 in number)
- States having three Ramsar Sites -----Himachal, Punjab and Kerala
- States with at least two Ramsar sites ----West Bengal, Rajasthan, Odisha
Latest wetland : Sunderban
- India has designated Sundarban Wetland as a Wetland of International Importance.
- It is located within the largest mangrove forest in the world, the Sundarbans that encompasses hundreds of islands and a maze of rivers, rivulets and creeks, in the delta of the Rivers Ganges and Brahmaputra.
- The Indian Sundarban, covering the south-westernmost part of the delta, constitutes over 60% of the country’s total mangrove forest area and includes 90% of Indian mangrove species.