Wetlands Day to be celebrated at Sunderbans

February 1, 2016

NEW DELHI: The World Wetlands Day will be celebrated on Tuesday. The Day is celebrated on 2nd February every year around the world to mark the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in the city of Ramsar in Iran in 1971. The day is observed to promote, create awareness and ensure positive and affirmative action for conservation of wetlands.

Wetlands are the life support systems that ensure functioning of the water cycle. Wetlands help recharge groundwater aquifers, cleanse polluted waters, protect shorelines and act as sponges to mitigate floods, the Minister of State of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar, said in a message on the occasion.

The Minister said wetlands have also special attributes as cultural heritage of humanity, and have deep connections with our beliefs and practices. They are indeed an important part of the natural wealth and 'liquid assets'.

The theme of the World Wetlands Day this year is ‘Wetlands for our Future – Sustainable Livelihoods’. The theme highlights the value of wetlands in securing local livelihoods through activities as fishing, rice farming, tourism, and water provision. Ever since civilizations began, wetlands have played an important role in development of human society. The ‘wise use’ principle of wetland management encapsulates the linkages between wetland functioning and livelihoods, on sustainable basis guided by ecosystem approaches.

The National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA) provides the policy framework and support for the State Governments for integrated management of wetlands. The State Wetland Authorities are envisaged to be entrusted with the role of management and regulation of wetlands within their jurisdiction.

It is also being proposed to upgrade the existing Wetland Research and Training Centre of Chilika Development Authority at Barkul, Odisha, into a National Capacity Development Centre.

This year the Day is being celebrated by the Ministry in collaboration with the Government of West Bengal at Sunderbans. Sunderbans is one of the largest single block of estuarine mangrove forests in the world.

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