Speed Post News Network

New Delhi : National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), Ministry of Jal Shakti, and India Water Foundation (IWF), on February 2, 2021, celebrated World Wetland Day 2021, to raise awareness about conservation and rejuvenation of Wetlands.

This year’s World Wetland Day theme put spotlight on wetlands as a source of freshwater and encourages actions to restore them and stop their loss. Highlighting the inter-connectedness of all water bodies and their role in maintaining each other’s Aviralta (e-flow) and Nirmalta (cleanliness),  Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of Jal Shakti, said, “Namami Gange is the first of its kind programme where Wetland Conservation is integrated with Basin Management Plan.”

Shekhawat added, “The innovative work done by NMCG for wetland conservation linked to River Rejuvenation would help the entire country as a model framework.”  He said that all stakeholders have to act as custodians of the environment for creating a sustainable future. On the occasion of Wetland Day, a massive scientific and community-based programme to develop Health card and management of 10 wetlands in each of the 50 plus Ganga districts was launched, according to a PIB release.

Rattan Lal Kataria, MoS,  Jal Shakti, while emphasising the integral role of wetlands in the socio-ecological system said, “Wetlands are very important for maintaining the country’s biological diversity.” He said that a lot of information is available on wetlands, regulatory frame work is also present, but there is a need to strengthen them at the grassroots level and raise awareness among the people.

Speaking about role of wetlands in addressing various environmental issues,  Atul Bagai, Head India Country Office, UNEP, said, “We need to see how wetlands can be useful to address the issues of desertification and migratory species. We hope in regards to wetlands conservation, India will again show the leadership that it has shown in a lot of other areas.”

Pankaj Kumar, Secretary, Jal Shakti, while sharing that the awareness about wetlands has heightened in recent times said, “NMCG not only looks at rejuvenation of Ganga but the overall river basin including its cities and their wetlands.”

Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, NMCG, asaid, “This is not just a celebration but a call for action to conserve wetlands and that is why we have organised capacity building workshops for wetland conservation.” Mishra shared that a futuristic guideline for monitoring of Ramsar sites and wetlands through Wildlife Institute of India and support of MoEFCC is being developed.

Dr Arvind Kumar, President, India Water Foundation,shared that this year commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention and by now India has around 42 Ramsar sites. He suggested  encouraging cooperation among several ministries to further scale up wetland conservation.