World Environment Day 2021: India is a land of beautiful rivers, mountains, deserts, and wetlands. Among all these ecosystems, wetlands are precious and very fragile. It is one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems, home to a wide range of plants and animals. Prior to World Environment Day on June 5, And when the monsoon season comes to India, the country’s wetlands are bustling with activity. Wildlife lovers and green crusaders often share on Twitter the arrival of our winged guests to the wetlands during the rainy season. “The good news is that the precursors of the monsoon have reached North India. They come from Africa crossing the Arabian Sea. They sighted and photographed yesterday in the Haiderpur wetland,” published Ramesh Pandey, a member of the Indian Forest Service, known for its contribution to the conservation and management of biodiversity.
Jacobin cuckoos are migratory birds, often referred to as the ‘harbingers of the monsoon’ due to the timing of their arrival. Other birds of aquatic habitat such as egrets, storks, ibis, herons, pelicans, ducks, are more visible in the wetlands during the rainy season.
The rainy season in India provides much needed respite for all life forms after the scorching summer. Birds begin to congregate near bodies of water, insects also breed extensively. But are we taking good care of our wetlands and green spaces? Environmentalist Bittu Sahgal took to Twitter and posted: “Forests are infrastructure. We overlook cities but not forests because ‘the costs are too high.’ The undervaluation of infrastructure such as forests, grasslands, lakes, rivers, wetlands, coasts, glaciers is precisely the reason why India is facing such a serious ecological crisis today. “
“Wetlands are often referred to as’ nature’s kidneys’ or ‘natural sink’ because of their characteristics of cleaning the environment and balancing the land’s water retention. They are vital links between land and water that provide ‘services ecosystems’ “…, according to WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature). Wetlands provide fresh water, are the habitat for many species of plants and animals, and aid in groundwater recharge and climate change mitigation. Protecting and managing wetlands is a global challenge.
There are more than 42 Ramsar sites in India. These are wetlands of “international importance” under the Ramsar Convention, an international agreement that promotes the conservation and wise use of wetlands. It is the only global treaty that focuses on a single ecosystem: wetlands. India joined the Ramesar Convention on February 1, 1982. The wetlands or Ramesar sites of the country cover an area of 1,081,438 hectares.
Some of the wetlands in India are Bhitarkanika Mangroves, Ashtamudi Wetland, Sundarban Wetland, Chilika Lake, Sambhar Lake, Loktak Lake, East Kolkata Wetlands, Keoladeo National Park, Kanwar Taal or Kabar Lake Taal, the Vembanad-Kol wetland, the Tso Kar in Ladakh among others.