MIRZA, Sept 8

GUWAHATI, Aug 3

The Expert Team constituted by the Planning Commission, Government of India, to Review the status of implementation of the National Wetland Conservation and Management Programme (NWCMP) of the Ministry of Environment & Forests, by visiting selected wetlands in the country, made an on-the-spot review and assessment of the Deepor Beel near Guwahati in Assam.

Climate change poses a threat to all ecosystems. In the case of the wetland ecosystem, not only will the water bodies and their economic benefits be lost; they could directly contribute to climate change by releasing a large amount of trapped greenhouse gases. That assessment from scientists taking part in the Eighth Wetlands Conference held in Brazil by INTECOL, the International Association for Ecology, will hopefully stir governments into action. It is vital that they r ecognise the gravity of the problem and act to stop the degradation, draining, and land-filling of wetlands.

New Delhi, July 30: A new book detailing more than 150 wetlands of the country has brought to the fore the desperate need to protect these "liquid treasures" from pollution, development and misuse. Despite protected under the international Ramsar wetland treaty, some of these wetlands need urgent attention and conservation. Urging the Indian government to provide more of its wetlands the Ramsar status at the Ramsar Convention scheduled for October this year, conservationists have asked the government to come up with more serious measures in conserving the country's wetland.

The campaign to save Majuli

To enable half yearly performance review of the programmes of the Ministry of Environment & Forests, the Planning Commission, Government of India, on 13th June 2008 constituted an Expert Team to visit three wetlands viz.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests has identified a number of wetlands for conservation and management under the National Wetland Conservation Programme and some financial assistance is being provided to State Governments for various conservation activities through approval of the Management Action Plans. The National Environment Policy recognizes the numerous ecological services provided by wetlands and emphasizes on the need for setting up of a legally enforceable regulatory mechanism for the identified wetlands.

Divya Gandhi PCCF's status report submitted to High Court In an assessment of the impact of privatisation on Bangalore's lakes, the State Forest Department has described the Lake Development Authority's programme of leasing out lakes to private developers as one that "seems to be taking all the ills of modern, built-up and paved-over, urban life into these hitherto natural spaces'. It has recommended that the lakes be declared as "nature or bird preserves'.

Kolleru lake would be developed at a cost of nearly Rs 860 crore over five years as the international non-governmental agency, Wetland International South Asia, has prepared proposals to that effect at the behest of the state government. Of the total cost proposed for development, a whopping Rs 500 crore has been allocated for water management works.

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