About Ramsar Convention
- Ramsar Convention is the Convention on Wetlands that was signed in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar is an intergovernmental environmental treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.
- It is the only global treaty to focus on a single ecosystem (wetlands).
- At present, 170 nations are signatories (including India) to the Ramsar Convention. A contracting party agrees to nominate at least one wetland in its territory to the List of Wetlands of International Importance based on enumerated criteria.
- In addition, contracting parties agree to manage all their wetlands based on the concept of “wise use.” Wise use means the maintenance of the ecological character of the wetland and allowance of sustainable use for the benefit of people and the environment.
What is a Ramsar site?
- Ramsar site is a wetland area designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
- India currently has 49 designated Ramsar sites.
What are Wetlands?
- A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, and it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem
- The Ramsar Convention defines wetlands as “areas of marsh, fen, peatlands or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water, the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters“.
- Five major wetland types are generally recognized:
- marine (coastal wetlands including coastal lagoons, rocky shores, and coral reefs);
- estuarine (including deltas, tidal marshes, and mangrove swamps);
- lacustrine (wetlands associated with lakes);
- riverine (wetlands along rivers and streams); and
- palustrine (meaning “marshy” – marshes, swamps and bogs).
- The definition of wetlands is very broad and includes ponds, water storage areas, low-tide coastal zones and all human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs and salt pans.
About Montreux record
- The Montreux Record is a register of wetland sites on the List of Ramsar wetlands of international importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.
- It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List.
- Currently, Keoladeo National Park (Rajasthan) and Loktak Lake (Manipur) are being kept under the record for taking appropriate steps for ecological restoration.
- Chilika lake (Odisha) was placed in the record but in 2002 it was removed from it.
Why in news?
- India is set to urge the Convention on Wetlands to fast-track designation of 26 wetlands in the country as Ramsar sites in addition to the existing 49 sites.
- The 26 wetlands proposed to be designated as Ramsar sites comprise 13 from Tamil Nadu, four from Odisha, three from Madhya Pradesh, two from Jammu & Kashmir and one each from Maharashtra, Mizoram, Karnataka and Goa.
Proposed areas from each state
- Tamil Nadu: The sites in Tamil Nadu include bird sanctuaries in Chitrangudi, Koonthankulam, Vaduvur, Vellode, Kanjiramkulam, Vedanthangal and Karikili, the wetland complexes in Suchindram Theroor and Vembannur, Pichavaram Mangrove, Pallikaranai Marsh and the Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere Reserve.
- Odisha: Satkosia Gorge, Tampara Lake, Hirakud Reservoir and Ansupa lake.
- Madhya Pradesh: Sirpur wetland, Sakhya Sagar and Yashwant Sagar.
- Jammu & Kashmir: Hygam and Shallbugh.
- Maharashtra: Thane creek.
- Goa: Nanda lake.
- Mizoram: Pala wetland
- Karnataka: Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary