Three-tier regulatory framework for wetands conservation ready

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New Delhi, May 22 (UNI) A three-tier regulatory framework for conservation of wetlands is ready and will be opened to comments of stakeholders soon.

The need for such a framework was being felt for a long time in view of the massive degradation the country's wetlands have sufferred in recent decades.

''After putting the draft guidelines on our website soon, we will send it to the Law Ministry for its opinion,'' an official of the Ministry of Environment and Forests told UNI here today.

The draft regulatory framework, the process for preparing which had been started last year, will work at three levels--Centre, state and the district.

Under the central authority will come wetlands of international importance, like those on high altitudes transcending the borders and those declared as Ramasar sites.

The state-level body will look after wetlands which are of religious importance and are valued as a heritage''.

The district-level body, which will be headed by the district magistrate, will take care of wetlands in samll towns and villages which are generally neglected.

The official said the central authority will approach national agencies for updated data on wetlands and undertake research The government has so identified a total of 103 wetlands for conservation, as recommended by the National Committee on Wetlands.

India has a wide variety of wetlands like marshes, open water bodies, mangroves, swamps and salt marshes which are essential for environmental balance.They help to retain water during dry season, thus helping in maintaining the water table. During floods, they act to reduce flood levels and to trap suspended solids and nutrients to the lakes.

The wetalnds have sufferred alarming decline because of the rapidly expanding human population, large scale changes in land use and land cover and implementation of development projects.

A scheme on conservation and management of wetlands was initiated in 1987.

A Research sub-committee on wetlands has also been constituted to identify more wetlands of national importance and to supplement management action plan for intensive conservation.

UNI NAZ LS SSC1502

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