Q17. Comment on the National Wetland Conservation Programme initiated by the Government of India and name a few India’s wetlands of international importance included in the Ramsar Sites. (15m) – Environment & DM
Wetlands, the Kidney of the Earth, face major threats like encroachment, pollution, overexploitation of resources and sea level rise. India initiated the National Wetland Conservation Programme in 1986 for safeguarding wetlands..
The National Wetlands Conservation Programme (NWCP) and National Lake Conservation Plan (NLCP) were merged into a centrally sponsored, integrated scheme namely ‘National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems’ (NPCA) in 2013.
- Aim: Holistic conservation and restoration of wetlands
- Objectives of NPCA
- Water quality enhancement,
- Improvement in biodiversity and ecosystems.
- Mainstreaming of wetlands in developmental programming
- Approach- Four Pronged
- Developing baseline information – Wetland Brief Document
- Rapid assessment of wetlands condition – Wetland Health Card
- Stakeholder platforms to enable collaborative and participatory management – Wetlands Mitras
- Management planning addressing wetlands’ biodiversity and ecosystem services, values and threats – Wetland Integrated Management Plan
- Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC)
Examples of India’s Wetlands of International Importance
There are 75 wetlands designated as Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar List ensuring their sustainable use and coordinated protection.
|Thane Creek||Maharashtra||It is Asia’s largest creek, with a length of 26 km.
Thane Creek is fed by numerous freshwater sources (of which Ulhas river is the largest), making the water brackish
Important Bird and Biodiversity Area;: Avicennia marina, Rhizophora mucronata, Lesser Flamingo, Greater Flamingo,
part of Central Asia Flyway
|Loktak Lake||Manipur||Famous for the phumdi floating over it; the only floating national park in the world, Keibul Lamjao, home to the Sangai species.|
|Sambhar Lake||Rajasthan||Largest inland saltwater lake in India; famous for migratory birds.|
|Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary||Tamil Nadu||Small irrigation tank, Important Bird and Biodiversity Area, included in Ramsar List in 2022.|
|Sundarbans||West Bengal||largest wetland site in India, largest mangrove forest of the world, located in Ganga- Brahmaputra Delta.|
Issues/ Challenges with Implementation of NPCA
- Limited Role of State Government: Leads to delay implementation and assessment on a yearly basis.
- Lack of Research and Development
- Data Deficiency
- Limited Community Participation
- Lack of Compliance; encroachment issues
- Robust institutional mechanism in collaboration with the state government
- Scientific research and the adoption of integrated techniques
- Activating communities and stakeholders to promote beneficial wetlands behaviour.
- Robust Compliance Mechanism for effective wetland management.
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