World Wetlands Day and National Wetland Decadal Change Atlas

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World Wetlands Day and National Wetland Decadal Change Atlas

  • World Wetlands Day celebrated at Sultanpur National Park.
  • 2 more wetlands of International Importance takes Ramsar sites numbers to 49 in India.
  • Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change on World Wetlands Day 2022 stated that the government is taking affirmative action, involving communities and citizens, in halting and reversing wetlands degradation and loss.

World Wetlands Day

  • World Wetlands Day is observed every year on February 2nd all over the world.
  • It is celebrated to raise global awareness about the vital role of wetlands for people and our planet.
  • This day also marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar.
  • This year’s theme of World Wetlands Day is “Wetlands Action for People and Nature”, which highlights the importance of actions to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands for humans and planetary health.

About Wetlands

  • Wetlands are ecosystems saturated with water, either seasonally or permanently.
  • They include mangroves, marshes, rivers, lakes, deltas, floodplains and flooded forests, rice-fields, coral reefs, marine areas no deeper than 6 metres at low tide, as well as human-made wetlands such as waste-water treatment ponds and reservoirs.
  • Though they cover only around 6% of the Earth’s land surface, 40% of all plant and animal species live or breed in wetlands.

Ramsar Convention and Montreux Record

  • The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an international treaty for “the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands”. It is also known as the Convention on Wetlands.
  • It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran where it was signed on 2nd of February 1971.
  • The 2nd of February each year is World Wetlands Day.
  • The number of parties to the convention (COP) is171.
  • At the center of the Ramsar philosophy is the “wise use” of wetlands.

Montreux Record

  • It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List.
  • Montreux Record is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.
  • Two wetlands of India are in Montreux Record: Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan) and Loktak Lake (Manipur).

Wetlands and Ramsar sites in India

  • India now has a network of 49 Ramsar sites covering an area of 10,93,636 hectares, the highest in South Asia.
  • 2 new Ramsar sites are Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary in UP and Khijadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat.
  • As a part of India’s commitment towards conservation, restoration and management of India’s wetlands, the Government administered the wetlands pledge to the wetland mitras and everyone present to protect and conserve our wetlands.
  • Dignitaries also participated in the ceremonial plantation and visited the exhibition area and Interpretation Centre.

2 new Ramsar sites

Bakhira Sanctuary

  • It is the largest natural flood plain wetland in India.
  • It was established in 1980.
  • The floodplain wetland is that part of the river valley that gets flooded with water periodically.
  • The sanctuary is located to the west of Gorakhpur.
  • It is breeding ground for resident birds and a staging ground for number of migratory birds. The Siberian birds visit the wetland during winter.
  • Also, birds from China, Europe, Tibet and Siberia come to the lake during winters. There are more than 30 fish species.
  • The dominant ones are Chana and Labeo rohita. The wetland is the breeding ground for the gray-headed swamphen.
  • It is also called purple swamp hen or Indian purple moorhen.
  • It is locally called Kaima.
  • The wetland is connected to the Bakhira canal. The canal runs 15 kms supplying water for irrigation to the nearby villages.
  • It provides a safe wintering and staging ground for a large number of species of the Central Asian Flyway.

Khijadia Wildlife/Bird Sanctuary

  • It is located in Jamnagar, Gujarat.
  • More than 300 migratory birds visit the sanctuary.
  • It has freshwater marshlands, freshwater lakes and salt water marshlands.
  • It is fed by river Ruparel.
  • It also has creeks that support mangroves.
  • It is located in the Gulf of Kutch region.
  • The sanctuary is known for different types of nests such as floating nests, on ground nests and the ones built on trees.
  • The black-necked storks are found in abundant in the sanctuary. It is not found anywhere else in India.

National Wetland Decadal Change Atlas

  • It is prepared by the Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad.
  • It also released highlighting the changes which have happened in Wetlands across the country in the past decade.
  • The original Atlas was released by SAC in 2011 and has over the years been used extensively by all the State Governments also in their planning processes.
  • This project highlighted a total increase of 0.64 Mha area.
  • Increase in wetland area includes both new (56.4%) as well as positive change in the existing wetlands (43.6%) w.r.t. 2017-18 data.
  • Majority of increase in wetland area gone to inland man-made (81.5%) and coastal man-made (17%) categories.