Monday, 2 February 2015

":Wetlands for our Future."

Today is 2nd February , and we are observing World Wetlands Day,2015.We were at Lucknow Zoo,and we had Forest officials , school boys and girls,teachers and persons from electronic and print media.My turn came to deliver a talk as Chief Guest for the event and I said what follows.
                            In 1971,on 2nd February , representatives of 160 countries gathered at Ramsar in Iran for Convention on Wetlands , and signed the agreement .Since then ,we have been observing February 2 as World Wetlands Day.Every year , Ramsar secretariat gives a theme for this day .The theme for 2015 World Wetlands day is :"Wetlands for our Future."
                          I wrote a blogpost on February 2,2014(Last year) which I re-read today , after a gap of exactly one year.I  am afraid not much has really happened in one year .One previous speaker  said that we should not treat wetlands as wasteland .I am reminded of The Wasteland, poem by TS Eliot,where he compares this life with wasteland .I am afraid , we have wasted one year as far as conservation of wetlands is concerned.Eliot says :we wait without hope , we wait with faith .So , though I have no reason to hope , I have a faith that things can be changed.I have no hope because  since 1900,64% of World's wetlands have disappeared.loss is higher than 64% in Asia.
                            India  is among 168 states which have ratified the Ramsar Convention.India did it on February1,1982 and framed Rules for Wetlands(conservation and Management) in2010.Mission of Ramsar convention talks  of three things:
1.Conservation of wetlands.
2.Wise use of Wetlands.
3.Activities at local,state and national levels ,and cooperation at international level.
        Wetlands are shivering because of growing demand of agriculture for land use conversion, growth of cities and urban infrastructure,development of industry,climate changes,increasing pollution,sedimentation and siltation.19% estimated increase over current global agricultural water consumption is likely to happen by 2050 .This will put stress and demand on wetlands.If we have fewer wetlands , we will have less water for agriculture.
                       We must ,therefore:
1.Conserve wetlands.More funds are needed than 3.57 crores at present being made available under National Wetlands conservation Scheme.
2.Make inventory and get all wetlands recorded in Land records.
3.Do intensive research , training and awareness enhancement.
4.Ensure coordination of all the concerned departments like urban development ,drinking water,agriculture,ground water,irrigation,industry,environment and land records.
                    I do not ask you to take a pledge  to conserve wetlands.You will violate it tomorrow.But I ask you to think seriously and then resolve to spread  awareness about the importance and urgency of conserving wetlands, using them wisely , take steps to prevent pollution , and educate and make everyone around you  on this important challenge , to secure our own future.