Sixteen more wetlands in India proposed as Ramasar sites

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New Delhi, May 25 (UNI) As many as 16 more wetlands in the country are in process of being declared as Ramasar sites.

The Ramasar list includes wetland of international importance.

India has already 25 wetlands inlcuded in the list.

The list is drawn by signatories to the Convention on Wetlands, held in Ramasa city of Iran in 1971. It is an inter-governmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

The proposed new entries in the Ramasar list from India include three in transborder areas like Rann of Kutch(in Gujarat bordering Pakistan), Pengong(Ladakh, bordering China) and Sunderbans (West bengal, bordering Bangladesh). The other three are in the plains--Thanecreek(Pune, Nalsarovar(Gujarat), and Upper Ganga(UP).

Ten out of the 16 wetlands aspiring for Ramasar status are at high altitude and all in Sikkim, an official of the Ministry of Environment and Forests told UNI.

He said that a Himalayan High Altitude Forum has been formed under the Ramasar Convention for special attention to the high altitude wetlands.

There are various criteria under the Ramasar Convention for a wetland to be declared of national or international importance.

One of it is that the wetland should support vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities.

Besides, a wetland was considered important if it contained a representative, rare, or unique example of a natural or near natural wetland type found within the appropriate biogeographical region.

High biological diversity, important source of food for fishes, supporting 20,000 or more waterbirds etc are other criteria.

The advantage of joining the Ramasar convention is that it elevates the importance of the site at the international level, encourages international cooperation, provides access to expert advice and latest information.

Besides, it provids an opportunity for learning the best global practices for wise use of 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 in the lakes.

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

UNI NAZ AM KN0915

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