NEW DELHI: The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) under the Environment Ministry has decided to organise two events to spread public awareness about conservation of wetlands which includes a radio-outreach and awareness generation campaign.
The World Wetland day 2017 today, with the theme 'Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction' is being celebrated in collaboration with the Madhya Pradesh government at Bhoj Wetlands Bhopal, which is one of the 26 Ramsar sites that India has designated under the Ramsar Convention. World Wetlands Day is celebrated on February 2 each year to mark the day the Convention on Wetlands was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and India is a party to the convention since 1982 and committed to the Ramsar approach of wise use of wetlands. The ministry has also asked all the state governments to celebrate the World Wetlands Day in their respective states in a befitting manner. "The NBA in Chennai has planned two events to spread public awareness about conservation of wetlands.
The first is a radio-outreach and awareness generation campaign," an official statement said. In partnership with a prominent radio station with a multi-city presence, NBA will run information snippets on wetlands, their role in disaster management and ways to protect them over the period of two weeks spread over a month from February 1 to March 2. This will be done across five cities - Chennai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Thiruvanathapuram.
NBA has also planned a school outreach and awareness raising exercise. A large number of schools in Chennai will receive translated copies of the Ramsar handouts for use of students through their school libraries and school administrators are being requested to organise a small event during the morning assembly to spread the key messages. Municipal councillors are also being contacted and being requested to take part in the event at their nearest corporation school.
The statement said that the ministry accords high priority to wetlands conservation and has a dedicated scheme of 'National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems' (NPCA) to support state governments in integrated management of these ecosystems. Till date, over 170 wetlands have been covered under the programme and the ministry has also introduced Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010 as the regulatory framework for conserving wetlands of the country.
A poster exhibition has been organised at the ministry to celebrate the occasion which was inaugurated by union environment secretary Ajay Narayan Jha. As 'kidneys of landscape', wetlands receive flows of water and waste from upstream sources and they help stabilize water supplies, cleanse polluted waters, protect shorelines and recharge groundwater aquifers. The extensive food chain and biological diversity in wetlands make them 'biological supermarkets'.