Kavvayi wetlands: The next Ramsar site in Kerala?
By K R Ranjith | ENS | Published: 20th August 2013 10:02 AM |
The Kavvayi backwaters, one of the major wetland ecosystems in North Kerala, is all set to be the next entrant into the Ramsar list of protected sites. The state environment department is busy preparing the proposal to bring the backwaters, situated near Payyannur, Kannur under Ramsar convention, an international treaty meant to protect wetlands.
Environment Department Director P Sreekantan Nair told Express that the department has almost finished preparing the document. Once it is over, it will be submitted before the cabinet for approval.
If everything goes well, Kavvayi, known as the third biggest backwaters in the state will become the fourth in the state after Sasthamkotta, Ashtamudi and Vembanad Kole wetlands and 27th in the country to be protected under Ramsar Convention treaty, an international covenant on wetland protection to which India is a signatory since 1971.
Fed by five rivers and spotted with small islands, Kavvayi wetlands is the biggest wetland ecosystem in North Kerala spread across an area of 37km2. The wetland body stretching from Kavvayi near Payyannur to Neeleswaram in Kasargod is under threat of pollution, land filling, destruction of mangrove forests and sand mining. By bringing it under strict protective regulations, a long term demand of nature lovers, the illegal mining and reclamation activities could be kept at bay. Kavvayi is an important wetland system and the government should take immediate steps to bring it under Ramsar Convention, said Dr E J James, member of Naitonal Wetland Authority.
“We have a variety of wetlands, both artificial and natural. Our costal wetlands including Kavvayi are world famous for their verdant beauty, biodiversity and in supply of natural resources.
A study conducted by O Jayarajan IFS, former Deputy Conservator of Forest, as part of Dr Salim Ali National Wildlife Fellowship Award, had suggested that Kattampally, in Kannur should also be proclaimed a Ramsar site. Though it is smaller in size (7.5 sq km), when compared to other Ramsar sites, Kattampally is one of the three wetlands in the state identified as Important Bird Areas (IBA) by Bombay Natural History Society and Birdlife International, as priority sites for conservation as they hold a considerable population of Globally Threatened birds.
The study recommended fourteen sites in North Kerala including Kattampally, that cry for immediate protection as community reserves, just as in the case of Kadalundy.
The list includes Cherandathur wetlands, Chempallikkundu Wetland, Edattummal Kuniyan wetland, Vellimukkuchal Wetland, KoottayiPurathur Estuary, Thirunavaya wetlands (Valiyaparappur, Thamarakkulam & Pallattukayal) Ezhome vayal, Pulathuruthupandy wetlands (Elathuruthupandy & Pulathuruthupandy), Neeleswaram Kanhangad wetlands, Mavoor vayal, Madakkara mangroves and Paana vayal along with Kattampally and Kadalundy Estuary.