India adds two Ramsar sites on World Wetlands Day

On International Wetlands Day 2022, India added two Ramsar sites upscaling the number from 47 to 49.

The two new Ramsar sites (Wetlands of International Importance), Khijadia Bird Sanctuary in Gujarat and Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh, were announced on February 2. The 47th Ramsar site was Uttar Pradesh's Haiderpur Wetland.

Indian Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav said, "Development and environment should walk together perennially. Forty per cent of biodiversity comes from the wetland."

Furthermore, while stressing the importance of wetland day, he said, "Today is International wetland day. There are more than two lakhs of small ponds in India, but a few need to be preserved. India has 52 national tiger forests in India. There are two blue tag beaches in India. We have added two Ramsar sites today."

After this announcement, India now has a network of 49 Ramsar sites covering an area of 10,93,636 hectares, the highest in South Asia.

Ramsar Sites in India are declared under the Ramsar Convention, which UNESCO established in 1971. A site is declared a Ramsar Wetland Site in India if it meets any of the nine criteria set under the Convention of Wetland.

Environmentalists believe that following wetlands destruction, floods and drought damage, nutrient runoff and water pollution, shoreline erosion, has triggered a decline in wildlife populations.

Space Applications Centre (SAC), Ahmedabad, has released National Wetland Decadal Change Atlas on February 2, highlighting the changes in Wetlands across the country in the past decade.


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