India’s 11 more wetlands got a tag of international importance under the Ramsar Convention — an inter-governmental global treaty to preserve the ecological character of selected wetlands across the globe — bringing the total number of such sites in the country to 75. The new addition has put India at the top in terms of having the highest number of Ramsar sites among Asian countries, surpassing China’s 64. The new sites, covering an area of 76,316 hectares, include four in Tamil Nadu (Chitrangudi Bird Sanctuary, Suchindram Theroor Wetland Complex, Vaduvur Bird Sanctuary and Kanjirankulam Bird Sanctuary); three in Odisha (Hirakud Reservoir, Tampara Lake and Ansupa Lake); two in Jammu & Kashmir (Shallbugh Wetland and Hygam Wetland; and one each in Madhya Pradesh (Yashwant Sagar) and Maharashtra (Thane Creek).
Hirakud Reservoir with 65,400 hectares is the biggest in the list of 11. Among states, Tamil Nadu has the maximum number of Ramsar sites (14), followed by Uttar Pradesh (10), in the list of 75. “We became a contracting party to the Ramsar Convention in 1982. From 1982-2013, only 26 sites were added to the list of Ramsar sites. From 2014-2022, we added 49 new wetlands to the list,” tweeted environment minister
Bhupender Yadav on Saturday just two days ahead of completion of 75 years of independence.
The wetlands — land areas covered by water, either seasonally or permanently — play a key role in flood control and as sources of water, food, fibre and raw materials. Besides, such land areas also support mangroves that protect coastlines and filter pollutants.