Get Wet, Get Well – Wetlands are nature’s shock absorbers. Their degradation in cities is real bad news for urban future

Source: The post is based on the article “Get Wet, Get Well – Wetlands are nature’s shock absorbers. Their degradation in cities is real bad news for urban future” published in The Times of India on 11th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS 3 – Environment and Bio-diversity Conservation.

Relevance: About the role of the governor in the assembly.

News: Data from Wetlands International shows India has lost nearly two of five wetlands in the last 30 years, while 40% of them can’t support aquatic animals.

About the report on Wetlands

A total of 75 Indian wetlands with a surface area of over a million hectares are designated as wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention, which India ratified in 1982.

But even the largest among them, the Sundarbans wetland, has lost around 25% of its mangroves due to erosion over the past three decades.

Vadodara lost 30% of its wetlands between 2005 and 2018, while Hyderabad has lost 55% of its semi-quatic bodies due to inefficient waste management and unchecked urban development.

Encroachment and construction on Pallikaranai marsh in Chennai have made cities susceptible to flooding.

Read more: 40% of wetlands in India lost in last 30 yrs: Experts
Why are wetlands significant?

Wetlands are vitally important for water storage and aquifer recharge and play the role of storm buffers and flood mitigators. Wetlands are also natural carbon sinks, making them crucial for combating climate change.

What are the reasons for losing wetlands?

The majority of the wetlands are lost due to unplanned infrastructure, pollution, over-exploitation and reclamation, and reduction in sediments due to upstream dams.

Ignoring urban wetlands: The government has notified the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017 to serve as a regulatory framework for conservation efforts. But most of the assistance provided by the Centre to states for the conservation of wetlands is directed towards the notified Ramsar sites. Thus ignoring urban wetlands.

What should be done to protect wetlands?

-The government should create greater awareness about the benefits of wetland conservation.

-Urban planning should actively incorporate the preservation of wetlands like that of Delhi Master Plan 2041.



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