Wetlands for a sustainable urban future
February 2nd is considered World Wetlands Day. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. Each year since 1997, the Ramsar Secretariat has provided materials to help raise public awareness about the importance and value of wetlands.
The international theme for World Wetlands Day 2018 is ‘Wetlands for a sustainable urban future’.
The Ramsar Convention Secretariat has developed a number of downloadable World Wetlands Day materials for 2018, including posters, infographics, Power Point presentations, fact sheets and a t-shirt logo. Groups and individuals are encouraged to adapt these materials for their own World Wetlands Day events and activities.
Kerala is one of the green States of India and is well known for its wetlands. There are about 217 wetland areas in Kerala and it accounts for as much as one fifth of the land area of the State. Kerala’s Vembanad – Kole, Ashtamudi and Sasthamcotta lakes which are also designated as Ramasar sites of Kerala, are wetlands of International/National importance. According to a study by Kokkal, K & Harinarayanan, Periya & Sabu, Kallevettankuzhy (2008) on ‘Wetlands of Kerala; Proceedings of Taal- 1889-1893’, the major issues facing the wetlands of Kerala are mainly related to pollution, eutrophication, encroachment, reclamation, mining and biodiversity loss. A good number of management programmes were initiated during the last five years for developing and implementing sustainable management plans for wetlands.
The Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) has prepared Management Action Plans for Vembanad, Sasthamkotta and Ashtamudi lakes. Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) has initiated Management Action Plan preparation for Vembanad, Ashtamudi, Sasthamcotta and Kottuli wetlands which are being implemented with support of Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). Many of the wetlands in Kerala including Vembanad-Kole are being monitored as part of the Asian Waterfowl Census implemented under the auspicious of Wetlands International. Need for protection of the wetlands has gained much attention due to activities of many community based organizations in the State. Protection groups are functioning in almost all areas of individual lakes, rivers and even large ponds. Appropriate management initiatives exclusively for the wetlands under a duly authorized agency may be constituted. The concerted efforts of the Government agencies as well as NGOs shall help to address the problems being faced by the wetland ecosystems in the Kerala Stat, said the report.
Vembanad and Sasthamkotta, together will receive around ₹673 crore in five years for the implementation of Integrated Management Action Plan (IMAP). As per the plan prepared by the Wetlands International South Asia and Centre for Water Resources Development and Management, Vembanad gets an allocation of Rs 405 crore followed by Ashtamudi with Rs 170.34 crore and Sasthamkotta with Rs 98.60 crore.
The Department of Zoology, Mar Ivanios College is organizing a two day lecture and demonstration on the topic “Wetlands- A Sustainable Solution for Future Urban Living” as part of World Wetland Day Celebrations on 2 & 3 February 2018. On Day 2 of the festival, a selected group of students will be taken to Vellayani Lake for field demonstration and wetland study. The session will be guided by environmentalists and field experts. Plastic waste collection drives and awareness campaign is also planned at the lake premises and will paste informatory posters for the protection of this valuable natural resource. The session will conclude with an oath-taking ceremony.
HELP Foundation, in association with Paravur Lake and Ithikkara River Protection Council is organising a Wetland Day Procession and Mangrove Plantation. School students who have been working with HELP, would take part in the procession emphasizing the importance of wetland conservation. They will be received by the deputy collector of Kollam. The procession will be followed by Mangrove afforestation at Paravur Lake from HELP Foundations Nursery.
WWF-India’s Kerala State Office join hands with Periyar Tiger Reserve and Periyar Foundation is observing World Wetlands Day 2018 from 1-3 Feb with awareness and action components including school students and the general public.
Bhoomithrasena Club and Christian College, Chengannur in association with JCI India Zone XXII and Alappuzha Natural History Society, is conducting quiz competition on Wetlands and Biodiversity Conservation, a survey on the Urban wetlands of Chengannur, essay writing competition on Urban Wetlands and their conservation, field visit to study the Mangrove Ecosystem near Kayamkulam Town, exhibition of books on Wetlands and breakfast with birds on a Wetland – Bird Watching Programme as part of its celebrations.
Research Institute and Dept. of Social Work, Rajagiri College of Social Sciences is organising a one-day seminar on ‘Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future’, in association with RCSS and Kerala State Council for Science, Technology & Environment(KSCSTE).
The Center for Water Resources Development and Management is also conducting a filed trip to Biyyam Kayal in Malappuram, Kerala.