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Biodiversity & Environment

Wetlands Restoration

  • 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.

Source: TOI

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