KOZHIKODE: The Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (CWRDM) is preparing an international standard management plan for conservation of three Ramsar wetlands Ashtamudi, Sasthamkotta and Vembanadu in the State. Scientists at a CWRDM workshop held on Friday, took up discussions with 14 departments concerned and major NGOs, to work out the finer aspects of the plan.
Kunnamangalam MLA, P.T.A.Rahim inaugurated the workshop and said it was high time the issue of wetlands conservation was addressed.
He said the State was already feeling the effects of climate change. Dr. E.J.James, Chairman, Research Council, CWRDM, and an international expert on wetlands conservation, said if the wetlands ecosystem of Kerala were to be destroyed, it would eventually end life in Kerala.
“Wetlands give you drinking water. If they are not conserved, there will be no water in Kerala and hence no life,” the scientist said. Dr Ritesh Kumar, conservation programme manager of Wetlands Interanational, South Asia, said wetlands development had to be considered a State subject and the State Government ought to have budgetary allocations for it.
“It’s sad that our development agenda offers no role for conservation in it. Wetlands management is not conservation, but part of development.
All our development plans should have a conservation agenda. It’s not a huge task as wetlands account for only five per cent of our total land area,” he said. Ritesh Kumar also pointed out that almost 30 per cent of wetlands in India had been destroyed in the last three decades.
CWRDM officials said the basic idea behind the management plan was to save the Ramsar sites, Ashtamudi, Sasthamkotta and Vembanadu wetlands. In the first phase, a plan is being prepared for Ashtamudi and Shasthamkotta wetlands.
The plan will address all minor details of pollution and reclamation. “The plan is to do what Orissa did to preserve the Chilka Lake. It did a commendable job and its efforts won for the State the Ramsar Award for the best conservation project. We are aiming for something similar or better here,” said Dr E.J.James.
Wetlands International, Kerala State Council for Science Technology and Environment and all other related departments are working with CWRDM to prepare this management plan....