'37 Indian wetlands sites of international importance'

37 Indian wetlands declared sites of international importance under Ramsar: Javadekar

Migratory birds at the Gharana wetland near the India-Pakistan international border at Ranbir Singh Pura, about 35km from Jammu. Credit: PTI Photo

The Ramsar Convention has declared 10 more wetlands in India as sites of international importance, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar announced on Tuesday, in a major recognition for the government's effort towards conservation and rejuvenation of its wetlands.

With this, a total of 37 sites in the country have been recognised under the international treaty. Wetlands declared as Ramsar sites are protected under strict guidelines.

The Convention, signed in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar, is one of the oldest inter-governmental accord for preserving the ecological character of wetlands. Also known as the Convention on Wetlands, it aims to develop a global network of wetlands for conservation of biological diversity and for sustaining human life.

Javadekar said in a tweet that the Ramsar declaration is an acknowledgement of the government's commitment to conservation of wetlands.

"Happy to inform that Ramsar has declared 10 more wetland sites from India as sites of international importance for the conservation of global biological diversity. It is an acknowledgment of India's commitment towards conservation and sustainable use of its wetland.

"The total number of Ramsar sites in India are now 37 and the surface area covered by these sites is 1,067,939 hectares. Conservation of wetlands would also go a long way in achieving our PM's dream of #NalseJal in each houseland," he tweeted.

Among the 10 new Ramsar sites is Nandur Madhameshwar, a first in Maharashtra.

Punjab, which has three Ramsar sites, added three — Keshopur-Miani, Beas Conservation Reserve and Nangal.

UP, which had one, has added six Ramsar sites — Nawabganj, Parvati Agra, Saman, Samaspur, Sandi and SarsaiNawar.

The other Ramsar sites are in Rajasthan, Kerala, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh.

Wetlands provide a wide range of important resources and ecosystem services such as food, water, fibre, groundwater recharge, water purification, flood moderation, erosion control and climate regulation. "They are, in fact, a major source of water and our main supply of freshwater comes from an array of wetlands which help soak rainfall and recharge groundwater," the ministry said in a statement.

"In the past six months, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has prepared a four pronged strategy for the restoration of wetlands which includes preparing a baseline data, wetland health cards, enlisting wetland mitras and preparing targeted Integrated Management Plans.

"Conservation of wetlands would also go a long way in achieving our PM’s dream of ‘Nal se Jal’ in each household. The Ministry would be working closely with the State Wetland Authorities to ensure wise use of these sites," it added.