- 07 Sep 2019
- 3 min read
Recently, the Government has identified 130 wetlands for priority restoration in the next five years and asked states to submit their respective integrated management plan.
- Each of these wetlands will be restored under a comprehensive scheme of the National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA) for conservation and restoration of wetlands and lakes.
- This decision came on the sidelines of the ongoing UN conference on combating desertification (COP14) at Greater Noida.
- Apart from this, the government also proposed the concept of 'Wetland Health Card' to be introduced to monitor the entire ecosystem based on multiple parameters.
- In order to increase community engagement, the government declared to form 'Wetland Mitras' (the group of self-motivated individuals) for taking care of the identified wetlands across the country.
- Importance of Wetlands
- The wetlands are actually land areas covered by water, either temporarily or permanently. Marsh, fen and peatland come under this category.
- They play a key role in the hydrological cycle and flood control, water supply and providing food, fibre and raw materials.
- They not only act as a source of water but also as ecosystems that prevent land degradation and desertification.
- Besides, such land areas also support lakhs of migratory birds from colder regions of the world in summers.
- Mangroves protect coastlines and filter pollutants, that's why wetland are referred to as kidneys of the ecosystem.
- Wetlands in India
- In 2011, ISRO come out with a national wetlands atlas on the basis of satellite images, mapping over two lakh wetlands covering around 4.63% of the total geographic area of India.
- India's prominent wetlands include Chilika lake areas (Odisha), Wular lake (J&K), Renuka (Himachal Pradesh), Sambhar Lake (Rajasthan), Deepor Beel (Assam) etc.
- All these falls in the list of 26 wetlands of India under Ramsar Convention.
- Globally, there are 2,220 wetlands in the Ramsar list.
National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA)
- NPCA is a single conservation programme for both wetlands and lakes.
- It is a centrally sponsored scheme, currently being implemented by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
- It was formulated in 2015 by merging of the National Lake Conservation Plan and the National Wetlands Conservation Programme.
- NPCA seeks to promote better synergy and avoid overlap of administrative functions.