In a major recognition for the government’s effort towards conservation and rejuvenation of its wetlands the Ramsar Convention has declared 10 more wetlands in India as sites of international importance and it is heartening to note that wetlands of Jammu figure in the list of 37 sites recognised under the international treaty. Wetlands declared as Ramsar sites are protected under strict guidelines. The Convention, signed in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar, is one of the oldest inter-governmental accords for preserving the ecological character of wetlands. Also known as the Convention on Wetlands, it aims to develop a global network of wetlands for conservation of biological diversity and for sustaining human life. The 37 Ramsar sites in India covers a surface area of 1,067,939 hectares. Conservation of wetlands would also go a long way in achieving PM’s dream of Nal se Jal in each houseland. Among the 10 new Ramsar sites is Nandur Madhameshwar, a first in Maharashtra. Punjab, which has three Ramsar sites, added three Keshopur-Miani, Beas Conservation Reserve and Nangal. UP, which had one, has added six Ramsar sites Nawabganj, Parvati Agra, Saman, Samaspur, Sandi and SarsaiNawar. The other Ramsar sites are in Rajasthan, Kerala, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh. Wetlands are in fact major source of water and and our main supply of freshwater comes from an array of wetlands which help soak rainfall and recharge groundwater besides they provide a wide range of important resources and ecosystem services such as food, water, fibre, groundwater recharge, water purification, flood moderation, erosion control and climate regulation. “In the past six months, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has prepared a four pronged strategy for the restoration of wetlands which includes preparing a baseline data, wetland health cards, enlisting wetland mitras and preparing targeted Integrated Management Plans. Conservation of wetlands would also go a long way in achieving our PM’s dream of Nal se Jal’ in each household.
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