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| Last Updated:: 17/02/2017

Wetlands

Wetlands


Biodiversity has tremendous value for mankind. The wealth that bio-diversity offers  distributed in Deserts, Forests, Wetlands and Oceans is very large. Wetlands occupy a special place by being one of the most productive and biologically rich ecosystems and yet being one of the most endangered. The livelihoods of millions of people in India also depends on these ecosystems. A study done by  the Wild Life Institute of India has revealed that some 70-80% of individual fresh water marshes and lakes in the indo-gangetic plain have been lost in the past 50 years. Wetlands in India occupy some 4 million hectares of land. A survey by the ministry of Environment and Forests in 1990 estimated that about 1.5 million hectares are under Natural Wetlands and man made wetlands like tanks and reservoirs occupy 2.5 million hectares. Mangroves cover an additional 453,000 hectares. According to the Directory of Asian Wetlands, Wetlands in India occupy some 58.2 million hectares (Of which 40.9 million hectares is for areas under paddy cultivation) and some 93 wetlands meet the criteria under the Ramsar Convention. The Directory of Indian wetlands published by the WWF and the Asian wetland Bureau in 1995 records 147 sites. Of these some 68 are under the National Protected Area Network and protected by the wild life protection Act, 1972.


Most of the world’s civilizations have developed and flourished near wetlands. Wetlands have offered considerable economic, ecological and cultural values. Some wetlands are exclusively used by people for food, fodder and building materials. The ecological functions of wetlands revolve a round maintenance of water quality, hydrology, flood control, carbon cycle, climate stability, water cycle, shore stabilization, recharge of ground water etc. These values are difficult to assess and quantify economically.

Conversion of wetlands to other land uses, encroachment, degradation of water sheds and increased silt-ration of   wetlands, pollution (from boats domestic sewage, pesticides, fertilizers and industrial effluents), grazing by domestic live stock, over fishing, eutrophication  and infestation with aquatic weeds, diversion of water for other uses, poaching, cutting  of trees and disturbances from recreational activity on tourism are some of the key anthropogenic activities which threaten wetlands today.

Wetlands and Law:
  
Wetlands in India are directly protected by a number of laws like   :

1.   The Indian Fisheries Act. 1857
2.   The Indian Forest Act, 1927
3.   Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972
4.   Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
5.   Terrestrial Water, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic zone and other marine zones Act, 1976
6.   Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977
7.   Martime zone of India (Regulation and Fishing by Foreign Vessels) Act, 1980
8.    Forest (Conservation) Act, 1986
9.   Coastal zone regulation notification, 1991
10. Wild life (Protection) amendment Act, 1991
11. National Conservation Strategy and policy statement on Environment and Development, 1992

INDIA AND RAMSAR:

India joined the Ramsar convention in 1981 and the convention of Biodiversity in 1993. It is also a signatory to Natural Heritage convention. Under the Ramsar convention on wetlands India is expected to conserve the ecological character of listed sites and to make wise use of all wetlands, whether or not they are designated for the Ramsar list.

CAPACITY 21 AND WETLANDS:

A draft natural wetlands strategy was formulated as part of the capacity 21 project. The objectives of this strategy were centered around conservation and management, prevention of loss and restoration and sustainable use of wetlands. The action plan for this strategy advocated protections of wetland, planning, managing and monitoring, participation of stake holders, inventory and participation, amending of legislation, inter ministerial responsibilities and cross sectoral co-ordination, capacity building in government and other institutions, public and corporate awareness, international cooperation and Research. In terms of research the action plan indicated that research and our understanding of the dynamics of wetland ecosystems can be useful to managers and local authorities in preparing management strategies for mitigation of problems like uncontrolled growth of weeds and pollution and also in the restoration of wetlands. The economic value and benefits of wetlands need to be quantified.

CONSERVATION OF WETLANDS – MINISTRY’S PROGRAMME:

The Ministry of Environment and Forests initiated a program on conservation of Wetlands in 1987. The basic objective of this program was the assessment of wetland resources, identification of wetlands of national importance, promotion of R&D activities and formulation and implementation of management action plans. Under the management action plans for identified wetlands, activities include survey and demarcation, catchments area treatment, distillation weed control, fisheries development, community participation, water management, public awareness, pollution abatement etc.

NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT POLICY AND WETLANDS:


The national environment policy of 2006 suggests the emergence of the following action points towards wetland conservation:
 

1. Setup a legally enforceable regulatory mechanism for identified wetlands to prevent the degradation and enhance 
     their conservation. Develop a national inventory of such wetlands. 
2. Formulate conservation and prudent use strategy for each significant catalogued wetland with participation of local 
     communities and investors.
3. Formulate and implement eco-tourism strategy for identified wetlands through multi stakeholders partnership 
     involving public agencies, local communities and investors 
4. Take explicit account of impact on wetlands of significant development projects during the environment appraisal of 
     such projects, in particular, the reduction in economic value of wetland environmental services should be explicitly 
     factored into cost-benefit agencies.
5. Consider particular unique wetlands as entitles with incomparable values in developing strategies for their 
     protection.
 

Marine and Coastal Wetlands

  • Shallow coastal marine waters
  • Subtidal aqualive beds
  • Coral reefs
  • Rocky marine shore
  • Gglviarmic waters
  • Interlidal mud, sand or salt flats
  • Interlidal forested swamps including mangrove swamps
  • Interlidal salt and fresh water marches
  • Prackush lagoons
  • Fresh water lagoons and marshes in coastal areas
     

Inland Wetlands

  • Permanent rivers and streams
  • Seasonal rivers
  • Inland deltas
  • Riverine flood plains
  • Fresh water lakes
  • Fresh water ponds
  • Shrub swamps
  • Fresh water swamps forests
  • Alpine and Tundra Wetlands
  • Fresh water spring oases
  • Geothermal wetlands
     

Manmade Wetlands

  • Water stage areas - reservoirs
  • Ponds
  • Aqnaculnic ponds
  • Salt ponds
  • exearalions gravel pils, issuing pools
  • Wastewater treatment (Savage garms, oxidalion ponds)
  • Irrigated land, rice fields, canals and ditches
  • Seasonatty florded arable fauna land.
     
     

District-Wise Wetland Statistics-Uttar Pradesh (2010)

Sr. No.

District

Geographic Area (Sq. Km)

Wetland Area (ha)

% of total wetland (Area)

% of district geographic area

1

Agra

4027

10502

0.85

2.61

2

Aligarh

3650

7984

0.64

2.19

3

Allahabad

5137

27487

2.21

5.35

4

Ambedkar Nagar

2337

14947

1.2

6.4

5

Auraiya

2015

7148

0.58

3.55

6

Azamgarh

4234

25472

2.05

6.02

7

Baghpat

1321

2277

0.18

1.72

8

Bahraich

4420

51618

4.15

11.68

9

Ballia

3349

32047

2.58

9.57

10

Balrampur

2981

21348

1.72

7.16

11

Banda

4532

20432

1.64

4.51

12

Barabanki

4402

27290

2.2

6.2

13

Bareilly

4120

10896

0.88

2.64

14

Basti

2688

18335

1.48

6.82

15

Bijnor

4561

17879

1.44

3.92

16

Budaun

5168

20288

1.63

3.93

17

Bulandshahr

2910

9193

0.74

3.16

18

Chandauli

2549

16961

1.37

6.65

19

Chitrakoot

3092

12153

0.98

3.93

20

Deoria

2538

17408

1.4

6.86

21

Etah

2486

5204

0.42

2.09

22

Etawah

2311

10946

0.88

4.74

23

Faizabad

2174

23050

1.86

10.6

24

Farrukhabad

2181

22309

1.8

10.23

25

Fatehpur

4152

20432

1.64

4.92

26

Firozabad

2361

3695

0.3

1.57

27

Gautambudh Naqar

1442

4153

0.33

2.88

28

Ghaziabad

2590

4116

0.33

1.59

29

Ghazipur

3377

23581

1.9

6.98

30

Gonda

4003

22427

1.8

6.6

31

Gorakhpur

3321

27916

2.25

8.41

32

Hamirpur

4282

15283

1.23

3.57

33

Hardoi

5986

37108

2.99

6.2

34

Hathras

1840

2236

0.18

1.22

35

Jalaun

4565

12719

1.02

2.79

36

Jaunpur

4038

13709

1.1

3.39

37

Jhanshi

5024

15711

1.26

3.13

38

Jyotiba Phule Nagar

2249

11026

0.89

4.9

39

Kannauj

2093

8190

0.66

3.91

40

Kanpur (Dehat)

3021

11603

0.93

3.84

41

Kanpur (Nagar)

3155

14770

1.19

4.68

42

Kansiram Nagar

1960

15237

1.23

7.77

43

Kaushambi

2124

9485

0.76

4.47

44

Kushinagar

2906

18506

1.49

6.37

45

Lakhimpur

7680

48267

3.88

6.28

46

Lalitpur

5039

34122

2.75

6.77

47

Lucknow

2528

9607

0.77

3.8

48

Maharaiganj

2952

10532

0.85

3.57

49

Mahoba

2884

9647

0.78

3.35

50

Mainpuri

2760

12887

1.04

4.67

51

Mathura

3340

9536

0.77

2.86

52

Mau

1713

10841

0.87

6.33

53

Meerut

2590

7922

0.64

3.06

50

Mirzapur

4521

30291

2.44

6.7

55

Moradabad

3718

7174

0.58

1.93

56

Muzaffarnagar

4008

12589

1.01

3.14

57

Pilibhit

3499

18216

1.47

5.21

58

Pratapgarh

3717

16441

1.32

4.42

59

Raebareli

4609

38522

3.1

8.36

60

Rampur

2367

5376

0.43

2.27

61

Sharanpur

3689

11537

0.93

3.13

62

Shahjahanpur

4575

19803

1.59

4.33

63

Shrawasti

2458

16930