World Wetlands Day 2019: Save Wetlands to Face Climate Change

The theme of the World Wetlands Day[i] 2019 is very fittingly, “Wetlands and Climate Change”. With climate change already upon us and its impact likely to increase due to increasing emissions and global temperatures, its high time we understand the importance of wetlands to face inevitable impacts of climate change, even as we must continue to do everything possible to reduce emissions.

On the occasion, Martha Rojas Urrego, Secretary General, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has said[ii]: “Peatlands[iii] for example cover just three per cent of our world. Yet they store nearly a third of all land-based carbon. This is twice as much as all the world’s forests.

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Dams · Yamuna River

Explore A Living Stretch Of Dying Yamuna At The Threshold Of Delhi  

Yamuna River is infamous as one of the most polluted rivers of the country. A mere thought of Yamuna, brings the picture of a stinking black water course, in the mind of most of the concerned.  But the initial 26 km of the River in Delhi from Palla upto Wazirabad Barrage presents a totally different Yamuna.

Unlike the city part, the river here has clean flowing water. Natural vegetations can be seen standing tall along still inviolate banks. Sighting of riparian birds in good number offers great solace from robotic city life. Few in-know of this secret, go fishing here during leisure and weekends. Farming activities on adjoining lands adds rustic charm to the panorama. If this is not enough, nearby floriculture strips, turns the riverbank colourful.

The river water is bathing quality. Many fresh water birds flock around. Herders take out cattle. Fishermen catch fish. Boatmen ferry visitors on demand. Devotees bath in the river and say prayers. Farmers remain busy with cultivation.

Annual flood marks are visible. It replenishes ground water and enriches the soil. Floodplains are still spared of concretization. All this contributes to make the river live and lovely. 

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An undiscovered wetland thriving under looming threats

In April 2016, the Central Government presented Wetland (Conservation and Management) Draft 2016 for comments which has been vigorously contested by leading experts as deliberate attempt to weaken key steps of Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rule 2010. Various organizations, community groups, NGOs including SANDRP has objected to the dilution of key norms and urged the government to discard Draft 2016 Rules and fully implement the 2010 Rules till new effective wetland protection rules are formed.  

Now, highlighting the neglected state of our wetlands, SANDRP again urges the responsible authorities to come forward and take steps to protect a thriving wetland which is facing threats from none other than Government itself.

Naya Bans Wetland The Holambi Kalan and Khera Khurd are among several villages dotting North West Delhi’s agriculturally dominated landscape. Between the Railway Station of these two villages lies a flourishing wetland spread on the either side of the railway track which has intercepted two local storm water drains passing though the area.

Whether the area was originally a wetland or the interception of rain water carried during laying down of railway lines has resulted in accumulation of waste water is unknown. Yayati Bhardwaj a resident of nearby Alipur village recalls his childhood days when he used to frequent the area to have a glimpse of Lotus like flowers blooming in the wetland which now has disappeared. The 32 years old youth raising voice for local environmental issues still remembers his father talking of the marshland on few occasions. So the marshy land may or may not be artificial but over the time it has evolved into a living wetland in concretized capital providing refuge to large numbers of flora and fauna.

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