Thousands of wetlands across country under severe threat, their protection vital: Jairam Ramesh

02:37 PM Feb 20, 2024 | PTI |

Congress leader and former environment minister Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday said thousands of wetlands across the country are under severe threat daily and asserted that their protection is vital as they are of great ecological significance.


In a post on X, Ramesh said the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was signed in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the Caspian Sea in February 1971.

The then prime minister Indira Gandhi had sent India’s greatest ornithologist, Salim Ali, as India’s delegate.

”How this happened has been described in my book, ‘Indira Gandhi: A Life in Nature’. It was Salim Ali who, more than anybody else, awakened the nation’s conscience to the protection of wetlands,” Ramesh said.

There are now 80 Ramsar sites across the country, with the maximum of 16 in Tamil Nadu and 10 in Uttar Pradesh, he pointed out.


Chilika in Odisha was the first wetland to be designated as a Ramsar site on October 1, 1981, he noted.

Ramesh said the pause of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra on Tuesday enabled a quick visit to the Samaspur Bird Sanctuary in Salon in Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli district — a Ramsar site.

It is about 2,000 acres in area and is a habitat for a variety of birds, prominent among which are cranes, he said.

”Thousands of wetlands across the country, which are not covered by the Ramsar Convention, are under severe threat daily. They are of great ecological significance and their protection is vital,” the former union environment minister said.


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