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Wetlands Day

Post by on Wednesday, February 2, 2022

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Every year February 2 is celebrated as the World Wetlands Day (WWD) in order to raise awareness among the people about the role and importance of wetlands and need to conserve them. Word Wetlands Day also marks the date of the adoption of Ramsar Convention or Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. It is an international treaty for conservation of wetlands. The convention was signed on February 2, in 1971. This day is celebrated with special focus on wetlands with participation of environmentalists, journalists, farmers, activists etc., from across the world. In Kashmir valley there are two Ramsar recognized wetland sites – Wular Lake in Bandipora and Hokera Wetland near Narbal, Badgam. This year’s theme of WWD is 'Wetlands action for people and nature’, which is apt if we talk about conservation in J&K. To begin with, most people in the UT are still unaware of the importance of wetlands and the need to protect them as they are facing threats due to human interventions. Wetlands constitute marshes, peat bogs and swamps, which provide suitable habitat to different biological species including plants and animals. In Kashmir valley wetlands are popular sites for birding as hundreds of species, native and migratory, flock at these sites. The catchment areas are also known for vegetative and fish produce. Despite copious funding, very little has been achieved over the years in terms of conservation of water bodies in general and wetlands in particular. In the past Center Government provided funds to help restore wetlands especially Wular Lake whose area has been diminishing very fast. However, there was no proper utilization of the funds and the results were not up to the mark. Many a times the concerned authorities couldn’t complete the task on time resulting in the lapse of funds. It is a fact that our wetlands provide livelihood to hundreds of families besides helping the rich biodiversity. The pollution and gradual shrinking of the water bodies in the valley has been a cause of concern for Kashmiris. The first priority should be to stem further pollution by taking measures like upgradation of drainage and sewerage system in the catchment areas, removal of encroachments, relocation and rehabilitation of the affected people. Previous Governments have shown utter disregard to these facts, as a result of which there are weak community feelings towards conserving our own lakes and water bodies. If sincere efforts are not made the wetlands would disappear and with them would disappear the fauna we proudly say are found in the UT. A meaningful exercise must be taken to save our wetlands from getting extinct.       





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