TODAY -

Wetlands: Why we should care?

Dr Konthoujam Khelchandra Singh *

Joining of two rivers - Nambul and Oinam which flow towards Karong bridge and meet at Loktak :: January 13 2016
Joining of two rivers - Nambul and Oinam which flow towards Karong bridge and meet at Loktak in January 2016 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam



World Wetlands Day is celebrated internationally every year on 2 February. It marks the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention)in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971. We celebrate World Wetlands Day to raise awareness about the importance of wetlands for people and for the Mother Earth. The focal theme for this year is "Wetlands for Sustainable Urban Future", highlights the important role of wetlands for sustainable urbanisation. Urban wetlands are essential and contribute to making cities liveable.

The statement released by Martha Rojas Urrego, Secretary General of Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, on the occasion of World Wetlands Day indicates that "4 billion people, about half of the world's population live in the urban areas today". It will be an enormous challenging task for urban planners and managers because of the rapidly increasing urban population.

It is estimated that the number of mega-cities with more than ten billion inhabitants will take a steep rise from 31 to 41. Today's current development of human settlement is a major concern for wetland conservation and wise use. The rapid expansion of cities leads to increase in the demand for land, this leads to problem of encroachment on the wetlands. Wetlands are often viewed as wasteland available for dumping waste or be converted for other purposes. This is a very disturbing thinking, which is an important factor for depletion of wetlands.

According to the WWF's Living Planet report 64% of wetlands worldwide have been lost since 1900, and that 76% of populations of freshwater plants and animals have disappeared in the last 40 years alone, which is worse than any other ecosystem. So, special attention should be targeted towards management and conservation of wetlands. To combat the downward global trends in loss and degradation of wetlands, Ramsar works with governments and conservation organisations as well as bringing in private sector and scientific expertise.

What are wetlands?Wetlands are generally regarded as the transitional areas between the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems where water is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life.

Wetlands are wide ranging areas which may be temporary seasonal water bodies or water saturated lands, natural and man-made permanent water bodies. The wetlands distributed all over the world possess the common characteristics of free water supply and an abnormally hostile chemical environment to which the plant roots are exposed.

An immense variety of species of microbes, plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish and mammals can be part of a wetland ecosystem. Climate, landscape shape, geology and the movement and abundance of water help to determine the plants and animals that inhabit each wetland. The functions of a wetland and the values of these functions to humans depend on a complex set of relationships between the wetland and the other ecosystems in the watershed.

A watershed is a geographic area in which water, sediments and dissolved materials drain from higher elevations to a common low-lying outlet or basin a point on a larger stream, lake, underlying aquifer or estuary.

What are the major threats to wetlands?The main threats facing our wetlands today are tremendous anthropogenic pressure resulting in rapid destruction of habitat, massive encroachment by the people living in the vicinity of the wetlands. At the same time, over-exploitation of faunal and floral resources, aquaculture and human settlements in rural areas and for construction of buildings and other infrastructure in urban areas, shrinkage of habitat due to conversion of wetlands for agriculture leads to further threats to wetlands.

Then, uncontrolled siltation of rivers and wetlands, thereby reducing the water holding capacity, which reduces the amount of available water during dry period, discharge of water and industrial effluents into reservoirs, altering the water quality as well as the natural population of several sensitive species. The problem of accelerated eutrophication of natural wetlands due to pollution, surface run-off and uncontrolled growth of weeds and consequent decay and limited awareness and public participationare equally vulnerableto degradation of wetlands.

Why are wetlands important? We should all know that wetlands provide fresh water for us all.Less than 3% of the world 's water is fresh, and the rest is saltwater. Most of this is frozen. Among the available freshwater, the largest share can be found in aquifers.

Wetlands help purify and replenish the aquifers humanity depends on. Wetlands performs variety of important environmental functions, which includes maintaining good water quality by trapping the sediments, filtering out pollutants and absorbing her nutrients that would otherwise result in poor water quality for downstream users. Wetlands helps in reducing the impacts from storm damage and flooding, recharging groundwater storing carbon. Wetlands also helps to stabilize climatic condition and acts as important sites for biodiversity.

Wetlands are also nature's shock absorbers as they act as natural sponges, absorbing rainfall, creating wide surface pools that ease any flooding to rivers. The same storage capacity will also safeguard against the impact of drought. Wetlands also provide significant economic, social and cultural benefits. Wetlands are important for primary products such as agriculture, fisheries and forestry.

Wetlands support agricultural activities because they are source of water for irrigation and livestock and for domestic consumption. Many coastal and inland wetlands are popular for tourism and recreational activities such as swimming, boating, fishing, camping and bird watching.

The need of the hour is retaining and restore the existing wetlands in a practical way. It is heartening to know that Manipur State Government under the under the able leadership of N. Biren has recently renamed Loktak Development Authority (LDA) to State Wetland Authority. lt is also right step towards conservation and restoration of wetlands by planning to expand to other water bodies like Pumlenpat, Kharungpat, Ikoppat, Khoidumpat etc.

However, it is very pertinent to properly identify the various threat to number of existing lakes and water bodies in Manipur. I also basically feel modification to the present Manipur Loktak Lake (Protection) Act 2006 is necessary to incorporate changes to include important actions and strategy for conservation of wetlands in Manipur.

It is right time to take corrective and effectives measures for preserving and restoring wetlands in Manipur. We have seen an increased in the frequency and magnitude of flooding in valley areas of Manipur during 2017. So, if we take immediate necessary steps to conserve our PRECIOUS WETLANDS, we can reduce the risk of flooding by slowing down floodwaters along rivers and releasing over time.

We should also remember that river systems with intact wetlands close to sources have consistent flows than rivers where the catchment and its wetlands have been largely cleared. So, on this World Wetlands Day, let's us all Pledge to conserve our wetlands for our better lives tomorrow.


* Dr Konthoujam Khelchandra Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The author is currently working as Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Science, Mizoram University. He can be contacted at kkhelchandrasingh(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on February 03, 2018.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Mukna - Indigenous Games : Gallery
  • Internet shutdown- only solution for govt ?
  • Keisham Priyokumar's short stories? #2
  • Revive Tabanglong Village
  • Without a Womb :: Poem
  • RPL trainees of Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh
  • CAB award goes to CM ?
  • Demand release of Student Leader
  • Veewom's arrest: mockery of rule of law
  • Arduino & Raspberry-Pi workshop at ADBU
  • Lui-ngai-ni @Senapati #1: Gallery
  • Republic Day - Tableaux : Gallery
  • Marriage : Zeliangrongs & Tais #1
  • My Story :: Poem
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Quest for Federalism in Myanmar : Paper
  • Gatekeeper's management mantra
  • From Democracy to Dictatorial govt
  • Fresh twist to Citizenship Bill
  • Dzukou Valley, Senapati : Gallery
  • Chiraikangja, Apaibi :: eMing
  • Demand for ILP :: Articles/Photos...
  • Rules of the Road at Silicon Valley
  • What is a school meant for ?
  • Why meiteis should not be ST #3
  • Release Thokchom Veewom - II
  • Release Thokchom Veewom - I
  • Face scrubs to avoid dirt & dullness
  • SM4E Awards 2019 : Nomination open
  • After effect of CAB collapse
  • Need to look beyond CAB
  • Panel seeks support to save NH
  • Amuktang-Ga Haikho #2 : eRang
  • Exam Centre allocation for HSLC 2019
  • 3rd World Bamboo Workshop #2 : Gallery
  • Cry of a Dying River - 65 :: Poem
  • DIPR facts on Census confuse Pangals
  • Manipur Tourism: Global Mice Congress
  • Coping up with examination stresses
  • On Govt inability to present CAB
  • Breather for the North East
  • Henjunaha #2 :: Funga Wari
  • Sangai Chef: Season 1 : Gallery
  • CAB: Imphal I/W [12 Feb] #2: Gallery
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni -Naga Seed Sowing Fest
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Different opinions on CAB 2016
  • Change of B Voc Examination Schedule
  • Nagaland MP will vote against CAB
  • Overshadowing issues by CAB
  • RS adjourned till February 13
  • CAB: Imphal I/W [12 Feb] #1: Gallery
  • CAB: Blockade [7 Feb] #2: Gallery
  • Keisham Priyokumar's short stories? #1
  • Just a beautiful lie :: Poem
  • World Wetlands Day 2019
  • Protests against Union HRD Ministry
  • 'PDA trying to confuse Naga people'
  • The 'ban' of Internet
  • Setting date with February 12, 2019
  • NSCN (I-M) elects new leaders
  • Scientific Knowledge in Manuscript
  • Poppy destruction @CCpur : Gallery
  • Kishorechand Wangkhem's case
  • 70th Indian Republic Day #3 : Gallery
  • Hinduism and Indianess
  • CAB: Maharaj & Xenophobia :: WJ
  • Deciphering a laboratory test report
  • Stop discrimination against women
  • The falls of protracted leader
  • More than hinting CAB will be tabled
  • CAB: Khwairamband [10 Feb] #1: Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai @Majorkhul #2 : Gallery
  • Human trafficking at Moreh
  • Why meiteis should not be ST #2
  • The Dark Light :: Poem
  • Exclusion of Pvt Teachers from HSLC
  • Pan Meetei met Ex Dy CM
  • NSS special camp 2019 concluded
  • NE to Bangkok flight from March
  • CAB: Khwairamband [9 Feb] : Gallery
  • Thamoise Foidattuna :: e-pao Radio
  • CAB Meira Rally #4 [30 Jan] : Gallery
  • Prof T Kameshwar: Reminiscence
  • Bamboo Cooking Competition: Final Day
  • Tips for healthier skin this winter
  • Sincerity matters
  • Awaiting final pact with NSCN (IM)
  • CAB: Blockade [7 Feb] #1: Gallery
  • 3rd World Bamboo Workshop #1 : Gallery
  • The panic radiated at War-Torn PAD
  • NE- Socio-Economic Development: Book
  • CAB- Consequences in Manipur
  • [ST] Demand for Constitutional Safeguard
  • 'ArP to observe Black Day during PM visit'
  • CAB date with RS on Feb 12 ?
  • Check Post (ICP) @ Moreh : Gallery
  • Tribes India [Exhibition] #2 : Gallery
  • Citizenship Bill, 2016: What to do now #4
  • It's a privilege to be a Rongmei
  • A Saviour Of My Own :: Poem
  • North East Startup Summit 2019
  • Budget : Full, half or quarter ?
  • BJP shows no concern for NE states
  • Mission schools under threat again
  • CAB : Blockade @Tiddim [6 Feb] : Gallery
  • Dolaithabi Barrage: Concealing Facts
  • 70th Indian Republic Day #2 : Gallery
  • Marketing Associates @ PiCiDi Systems
  • CAB, Political Parties and Manipur
  • The Novels Of BM Maisnamba #2
  • Employment in non-Govt sectors in Manipur
  • The board exam festival
  • NE voice on CAB: no worry for the BJP
  • Alienating natives & embracing foreigners
  • Henjunaha #1 :: Funga Wari
  • CAB Gen Strike #2 [31 Jan] : Gallery
  • Movement against Citizenship Bill in NE
  • Bamboo Cooking Competition: Day 1 Report
  • A girl with a Bicycle :: Poem
  • Mithun (Sandang) Mela at Machi
  • Disrespect to mother earth
  • Significance of MANPAC
  • Konthoujam Maikel (Painter) :: Profile
  • CAB Meira Rally #3 [30 Jan] : Gallery
  • Business as usual will fail on cancer control
  • Citizenship Bill: Thinking with ethics
  • STDCM reasserts Demand for ST
  • NE Pol parties met Union Home Minister
  • Free Heart Screening at Jiribam & Silchar
  • The ultimate showdown
  • Nepal to SE Asia: Trafficking via Moreh
  • Symbolism in the Tribal Art #2
  • Aribam Syam return Padmashree to Govt
  • Literature review
  • CAB : An Adhesive for Integrity of Manipur
  • Cry of a Dying River - 64 :: Poem
  • Impact of AI and Robotics on Society
  • New MSAD Executive term 2019
  • Rejoinder from Shurhozelie Liezietsu -Feb 3
  • Festival to promote NE trade, tourism
  • Onetwo Okram : Singer- Profile :: eRang
  • CAB : Film Forum Protest : Gallery
  • Cultural: Republic Day #1: Gallery
  • Why Manipuri people oppose CAB? #2
  • Antibiotic Consumption by farm animals
  • The Beauty of the Sunset :: Poem
  • Coordinator of Social Media for Congress
  • Rejoinder to NDPP [Feb 2]
  • Non presentation of CAB at RS is an insult
  • Noting anti-CAB stand of NPP, NPF
  • CAB Gen Strike #1 [31 Jan] : Gallery
  • Match: 4th Women's Polo #3: Gallery
  • Citizenship Bill, 2016: What to do now #3
  • Truth of Manipur is inherent in nature
  • Chola Pass & Chola Range in Sikkim
  • JRF required at IBSD, Imphal
  • NPF disclosure on Citizenship Bill
  • Viral audio which confuse people
  • CAB indication from President
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #3 : Gallery
  • February Calendar for Year 2019 :: Tools
  • CAB Meira Rally #2 [30 Jan] : Gallery
  • The Novels Of BM Maisnamba #1
  • Screen time, effect on speech & language
  • Trainees Certificate of Lunglei, Mizoram
  • ST: Unfounded fear psychosis being spread
  • Join the people, brother/sisters of state BJP
  • CAB : The rallying point for NE
  • CAB Meira Rally #1 [30 Jan] : Gallery
  • CAB Protest #1 [29 Jan] : Gallery
  • NE Railway's Work & fate of Villages
  • Fellowship Meet of Maring Naga
  • Legal Awareness for Women leaders
  • Flowers for beauty
  • Opposing ST demand of STDCM
  • Gaan-Ngai @Namthanlong : Gallery
  • Why Manipuri people oppose CAB? #1
  • Citizenship Bill, 2016: What to do now #2
  • Oinam Shilla : Society Development Award
  • MIK (Manipuri in Kolkata) : Gallery
  • Match: 4th Women's Polo #2: Gallery
  • Why shouldn't Meitei be included in ST
  • Combing Operation @Hatta : Gallery
  • Laishram Bombayla : Padma Shri Award
  • Maisnam Renuka (Painter) : Profile
  • Thank You Note: Khumukcham Sanjita
  • Gaan-Ngai - festival of Kabui #2
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #2 : Gallery
  • Rongmei and Kabui are one
  • Rani Khidir : Kalaritu (Laiyekpa) : Profile
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Match: 4th Women's Polo #1: Gallery
  • Ranjit Ningthouja : Profile of a playwright
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #1 : Gallery
  • Dr Thokchom Asha: Teacher Award
  • Purnima Ngangom (Printmaker) :: Profile
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • New Year picnic at Sekmai #2: Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2019 : Download
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2018 #6: Gallery
  • Irengbam Bedamani - Actress :: eRang
  • List of Restricted Holidays for 2019
  • List of Public Holidays for 2019
  • List of General Holidays for 2019
  • Fabrics of Bangladeshi Manipuri: Download
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS