Comment on the National Wetland Conservation Programme initiated by the Government of India and name a few India’s wetlands of international importance included in the Ramsar Sites. (250 words)

Wetlands in India are vital for ecological balance, diverse flora and fauna, and livelihoods. The Government initiated the National Wetland Conservation Programme (NWCP) to conserve these wetlands. Some Indian wetlands are internationally recognized as Ramsar Sites.

National Wetland Conservation Programme (NWCP)

  • Objective: NWCP aims to conserve and manage wetlands, preventing further degradation.
  • Initiation: Started in 1985-86 by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
  • Coverage: Provides financial aid to State Governments for conservation activities in wetlands.
  • Activities: Includes wastewater interception, diversion, treatment, desilting, weed control, afforestation, and community participation.
  • Integration with Central Plan Scheme: Merged with “National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-systems (NPCA)” in 2013 for holistic lake and wetland conservation.

India’s Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites)

  • Definition: Ramsar Sites are globally important wetlands designated under the Ramsar Convention.
  • Significance for India: India, a Ramsar Convention signatory, prioritizes conserving such wetlands.
  • Examples of Ramsar Sites in India:
    • Chilika Lake, Odisha: Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon, home to diverse wildlife including the Irrawaddy dolphin.
    • Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan: A man-made wetland known for birdlife, including the Siberian Crane.
    • Sundarbans Wetland, West Bengal: World’s largest mangrove forest, habitat of the Royal Bengal Tiger.
    • Loktak Lake, Manipur: Northeast India’s largest freshwater lake, famous for floating phumdis.
    • Vembanad-Kol Wetland, Kerala: India’s longest lake and largest in Kerala.

Conserving wetlands is vital for ecological balance, biodiversity, and livelihoods. While NWCP and Ramsar Sites recognition are commendable, continuous monitoring, community involvement, and adaptive strategies are needed. Collaborative efforts can ensure sustainable management and conservation of India’s invaluable wetlands.

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