Did you know – about 95% of the world’s fresh water comes from underground sources and as many as 100,000 different species depend on wetlands for their survival? So how important wetlands can be?
What are Wetlands?
Wetlands are exactly how they sound: land covered by shallow waters. They occurs where water meets land, including ponds, lakes, reservoirs, creeks, mangroves and other water bodies. They exist in every country and in every climatic zone, from polar regions to the tropics, and from high altitudes to dry regions. However, they do all have one thing in common – they play an important role in the lives of humans and animals and prevents Earth’s rapid climatic change. In fact, they are nature’s purifier and helps bridge the gap between green and grey infrastructure in urban cities and makes our surroundings livable.
Sadly, over the years, about 50% of the world’s wetlands have been lost or destroyed by humans. Thus, in order to save and protect the remaining wetlands, The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance was adopted in Ramsar, Iran on 2nd February, 1971. Since then the 2nd of February is celebrated as the world wetlands day, to create social awareness about the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. This year, the theme ‘Wetlands and Climate Change’ aims to raise awareness about how wetlands can help prevent rapid climatic changes.
Thanks to Ramsar Convention, more than 5% of the earth’s surface today is covered with wetlands, with 56% thriving in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. India alone is home to 26 such sites.
In order to create further awareness and add momentum to this movement, here’s a list of major wetlands in India, identified under Ramsar Convention:
Vembanad Wetland (Kerala): The Vembanad Kol is the longest lake in India and the largest in Kerala. Home to more than 20,000 waterfowls and an ideal habitat for shrimps, Vembanad Kol is a famous tourist spot.
Chilika Wetland (Odisha): Brackish water lagoon, Chilika Lake is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the 2nd largest lagoon in the world. Its ecosystem is the largest home for Irrawaddy dolphin and migratory birds on the Indian subcontinent.
Bhoj Wetland (Bhopal): The Bhoj Wetland consist of two lakes – Bhojtal and Lower Lake, in the city of Bhopal. These lakes are home to a diverse flora, fauna and many remote species.
Ashtamudi Wetland (Kerala): Ashtamudi Lake is the second largest and deepest wetland ecosystem in Kerala. With a palm shaped extensive water body and eight prominent arms, the Ashtamudi lake is situated near the Vembanad Lake.
Kolleru Lake (Andhra Pradesh): Kolleru Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in India which is located between the Krishna and Godavari river delta in Andhra Pradesh. Home to a large species of wetland birds, the lake is also a common tourist spot.
Deepor Beel (Assam): Also spelled as Dipor Bil, this is a permanent freshwater lake and one of the largest ‘beels’ (a local word for lake) in the Brahmaputra valley of lower Assam. Surrounded by steep highlands on the northern and southern sides one gets to see varieties of migratory birds, wild animals and aquatic birds.
Loktak Lake (Manipur): It is the largest freshwater lake in Northeast India and is the last natural home of the endangered Sangai deer in India. The lake is also popularly known as ‘The Floating Lake’ due to the floating phumdis. Near the lake is the Keibul Lamjao National Park, which acts as a major tourist attraction. Both the lake and the park play an important role in the economy of Manipur.
Sambhar Salt Lake (Rajasthan): Sambhar Salt Lake is the largest inland salt lake in India, surrounded by the Aravali hills on all sides. The lake contributes significantly to the country’s salt production and is one of the best places to spot pink flamingos and other migratory birds.
While wetland ecosystems hold an important part of the world’s biodiversity, they are rapidly disappearing due to various reasons. Some of the major threats are industrial and agricultural activities, along with tourism, dams, pollution and other human activities. Without these suitable wetland habitats, many species would soon be homeless and probably extinct! It’s time we take some action and work to conserve and restore these amazing ecosystems, which help us prepare for and potentially fight the adverse effects of climate change.
Here are a few things that we can do to save these beautiful wetlands :
So, take a step to protect these eco worries and help make the planet a better place!
Books are Tanaya Goswami’s first love and cheesecakes come a close second. Talking about movies, music, calligraphy, politics, and Elon Musk will get you listed under the friends’ section of her diary. Ever since moving on from her job as an English lecturer, she spends her time at BYJU’S crafting stories filled with emotion and sprinkled with sarcasm. Outside of work, she’s either learning something new (French, most recently!) or is curled up with a book and a cup of coffee. She firmly believes that discovering what you don’t know is the key to knowledge and is constantly working towards improving herself. Drop in a line at [email protected] if you liked her stories, have something nice to say, or if you have compelling ideas to share!
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