Classification of Wetlands in India
State-wise distribution of wetlands showed that Lakshadweep has 96.12% of geographic area under wetlands followed by Andaman and Nicobar Islands (18.52%), Daman and Diu (18.46%) and Gujarat (17.56%), have the highest extent of wetlands. Puducherry (12.88%), West Bengal (12.48%), Assam (9.74%), Tamil Nadu (6.92%), Goa (5.76%), Andhra Pradesh (5.26%), and Uttar Pradesh (5.16%) are wetland rich states. The least extents(less than 1.5 % of the state geographic area) have been observed in Mizoram (0.66%) followed by Haryana (0.86%), Delhi (0.93%), Sikkim (1.05%), Nagaland (1.30%), and Meghalaya (1.34%).
|Mangrove along Kerala coast. Mangroves are habitats for a numerous aquatic species and protect coastal lands from erosion.|
Chilika Lake: A case study
Chilika lake is the largest coastal lagoon in Asia and world’s second largest lagoon in the world. The lagoon is the largest migratory ground in India with nearly 160 species of birds and severe endangered species, Irrawady dolphins being the most famous. The lake was recorded as Ramsar site in 1981 but was listed in Monteux record in 1993. Montreux record is a list of wetlands of international importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological development, pollution or other human interference. It is maintained as part of the Ramsar list. Siltation from upstream alongwith decrease in salinity and excessive growth of invasive species affected the surface areas, wildlife and fishery resources of the wetland to a great extent. Chilika Development Authority was set up by Indian government in order to revive the wetland. The project involved nearly Rs. 600 million from different sources and a wide support from various NGOs. and in 2002, it was removed from Montreux record. It was the first wetland in Asia to be removed from Montreux record. Chilika Development Authority also received Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award for outstanding achievement in the field of restoration and wise use of wetlands and effective participation of local communities in these activities.
Houseboats at Dal Lake, Kashmir. A major tourist attraction of Srinagar, it is an example of wetland badly affected by the tourism.
Sonbhadra: A case study
Sonbhadra is a district in southern tip of Uttar Prdesh adjoining district Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh. Sonbhadra and SIngrauli together is called ‘power capital’ of India. Singrauli has the country’s largest coal field and 9 coal-fired thermal power plants equivalent to 10% of India’s installed power capacity. In 1991, the Central Pollution Control Board identified Sonbhadra and Singrauli as critically polluted area. Rihand dam on Renu river also known as Goving Ballabh Pant Sagar is the main waterbody in the region which also receives a huge amount of industrial effluents from chemical factories and aluminum smelters situated nearby. In an independent study by Vanvasi Seva Asram in 2009 it was claimed that the water discharged into Dongiya nullah from Kanoria chemicals, a caustic soda manufacturing company had mercury levels 15.3 µg/l against permissible limit of 10 µg/l. Also, the fly ash from thermal power units were found to be dumped into the river or leaching from fly ash ponds.4 Another study done by Delhi based NGO Centre for Science and Environment found 0.447 ppm of methyl mercury from fish samples from Dongiya nullah almost twice the limit set by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. The water from hand pump was found to be 0.026 ppm, 26 times the standard set up by BIS at 0.001 ppm. 58% of human hairs were found contained with mercury at 7.39 ppm highest being 31.3 ppm as compared to 6 ppm as safety standard by Health Canada. 84% of blood samples had average mercury 34.3 ppb, 6 times more than safe standard set by US Environmental Protection agency.5
- Ramsar Official Website.
- Information Brochure on National Wetland Inventory and assessment 2011, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Govt. of India
- Kumar, A., Tak, P.C. & Sati, J.P. 2006. Residential, population and conservation status of Indian wetland birds. Waterbirds around the world. Eds. G.C. Boere, C.A. Galbraith & D.A. Stroud. The Stationery Office, Edinburgh, UK. p. 308.
- Mercury in air, water | Down to Earth
- CSE Study: Mercury Pollution in Sonbhadra District of Uttar Pradesh and its Health Impacts, Centre for Science and Environment, Down to Earth, 2012, www.cseindia.org
- Varshney, Jay.G., Sushilkumar and Mishra, J.S., 2008. Current Status of Aquatic Weeds and Their Management in India. Proceedings of Taal 2007: 12th World Lake Conference: 1039-1045
- William J. Mitsch, James G. Gosselink, Wetlands. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1986.
Wetlands in India: Their Importance and hydrologic alteration as threat from urbanization by Debadityo Sinha is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.debadityo.com.