General Studies IIIEnvironment and Ecology

World Wetlands Day 2022


Every year, World Wetlands Day is observed on 2nd Day of February

Theme: Wetlands Action for People and Nature

About World Wetlands Day:

Each year, on February 2nd, World Wetlands Day is commemorated. It is observed to promote global awareness of the importance of wetlands to people and the environment. This day also commemorates the adoption of the Wetlands Convention on February 2nd, 1971, in the city of Iran called Ramsar on the Caspian Sea’s coasts.

Wetlands can be found in all countries and in all climatic zones, from the poles to the tropics, from high elevations to coastal locations, and even in parched and dry deserts. Wetlands are one of India’s most endangered ecosystems, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) India. The country’s wetlands have been harmed by vegetation loss, salinization, extreme inundation, water contamination, invasive species, unsustainable development, and road construction. In India, there are 42 Ramsar sites certified as of December 2020.

Why it is celebrated annually on the 2nd of February?

The day is celebrated to mark the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. World Wetlands Day was first celebrated in 1997.

  • It aims to create awareness of the need for the conservation of wetlands for the betterment of the ecosystem and climate change problems. 
  • The day was first accepted as an international treaty named the Convention on Wetlands on February 02, 1971, in Ramsar, Iran. 
  • The theme for this year’s World Wetlands Day is ‘Wetland’s action for people and nature showing the actions required to ensure the conservation and sustenance of wetlands.
  • The date February 02 was given official recognition by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) as it adopted Resolution 75/317 as World Wetlands Day on August 30, 2021. 
  • Public awareness regarding the day started in 1997. 
  • To educate young people about wetland conservation, a month-long Youth Photo Contest has been organized every year since 2015, starting February 2. 
  • The contest is limited to those between the ages of 15 to 24.

Defining Wetlands:

Wetlands are a habitat for a dense variety of plant and animal species and also rich with the biodiversity which is declining according to the researcher’s estimates. These are the land areas that are saturated or flooded with water either perennially or seasonally.

Types of wetlands:

  • Coastal wetlands: mangroves, estuaries, saltwater marshes, lagoons etc.
  • Inland wetlands: marshes, fens, lakes, swamps, rivers, floodplains and ponds.
  • Human-made wetlands: Fish ponds, saltpans, and rice paddies.

Wetlands in India

India has a diverse range of wetlands, including high altitude wetlands in the Himalayas, floodplains of powerful rivers like the Brahmaputra and Ganges, lagoons and mangrove swamps along the coast, and reefs in the ocean. According to the National Wetland Atlas, wetlands cover roughly 4.6 percent of India’s land area, or 15.26 million hectares. India joined the Ramsar Convention in 1982 and has 42 spots designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites) with a total surface area of 1.08 million hectares as of January 2021.

Since 1985, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has been aiding State Governments in the creation and execution of integrated management plans as the nodal ministry for wetlands protection. State governments have received financial support to implement management strategies for 180 wetlands. In 2017, the Ministry also published the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, which serves as the country’s regulatory framework for wetlands. Wetland authority and acts and regulations for conservation and smart use of wetlands have also been notified in some states.

List of Wetlands in India

India presently has 26 wetlands designated as Ramsar sites. This turns out to be 4.5 per cent of the total wetland area of the country.

  1. Ashtamudi Wetland, Kerala
  2. Bhitarkanika Mangroves, Orissa
  3. Bhoj Wetland, Madhya Pradesh
  4. Chandertal Wetland, Himachal Pradesh
  5. Chilika Lake, Orissa
  6. Deepor Beel, Assam
  7. East Calcutta Wetlands, West Bengal
  8. Harike Lake, Punjab
  9. Hokera Wetland, Jammu & Kashmir
  10. Kanjli, Punjab
  11. Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan
  12. Kolleru Lake, Andhra Pradesh
  13. Loktak Lake, Manipur
  14. Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat
  15. Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu
  16. Pong Dam Lake, Himachal Pradesh
  17. Renuka Wetland, Himachal Pradesh
  18. Ropar, Punjab
  19. Rudrasagar Lake, Tripura
  20. Sambhar Lake, Rajasthan
  21. Sasthamkotta Lake, Kerala
  22. Surinsar-Mansar Lakes, Jammu & Kashmir
  23. Tsomoriri, Jammu & Kashmir
  24. Upper Ganga River (Brijghat to Narora Stretch), Uttar Pradesh
  25. Vembanad-Kol Wetland, Kerala
  26. Wular Lake, Jammu & Kashmir

About Ramsar convention-

  • It is the only global treaty that focuses specifically on wetlands.
    • It was signed in 1971 in Ramsar, Iran and it has 170 nations as signatories.
    • The convention entered into force in India on 1 February 1982.
    • The contracting parties agree to manage all their wetlands based on the concept of “wise use.”
    • Wise use means the maintenance of the ecological character of the wetland and allowance of sustainable use for the benefit of people and the environment.
  • The Ramsar Convention works closely with six other organizations known as International Organization Partners (IOPs). These are:

  • Birdlife International
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
  • Wetlands International
  • WWF International
  • Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT)
  • The 2nd of February each year is World Wetlands Day, marking the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971.

Source: Indian Express

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