KAKINADA: Despite eligibility for declaring RAMSAR status to the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary and the Pulicat Lake in Andhra Pradesh, such a declaration has not been done so far.
Given the ecological value of the sites, environmentalists are demanding that the Centre as well as Andhra Pradesh government declare these environmental sites as RAMSAR sites. Environmentalists who have studied these two sites recommend that the government make the declaration as these two sites are eligible.
Though India has numerous wetlands of various types, there are certain criteria of selection of a site for RAMSAR designation, environmentalists said.
As per article 2.2 of RAMSAR convention, wetlands are broadly categorised under two groups. The Coringa wetland satisfies all criteria and is eligible for a RAMSAR declaration. The Kolleru lake was already identified as a RAMSAR site on August 19, 2002.
Birds lover and environmentalist K. Mrityunjaya Rao said that India has a total of 41 Ramsar sites, including three more new sites identified this year. In July, the Kabartaal wetland in Bihar, the Lonar lake of Maharashtra (the only crater lake in India) and the Keetham Lake in Agra (called as Sur Sarovar) were added.
He said that despite their potential, the Coringa WildLife Sanctuary and the AP Pulicat Lake have not been selected. He said these two sites should be declared as RAMSAR sites due to their importance.
International forest Biodiversity and mangrove management specialist Dr Ravishankar Thupalli said that he has submitted a report on Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary to the RAMSAR site cell last year on behalf of EGREE Foundation, a UNDP and Central government project with the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department. He said if wetlands are declared as RAMSAR sites, they get global recognition and give a boost to tourism. He expressed hope Coringa would get RAMSAR recognition soon.
Environmentalists say even if governments make no efforts for declaration as RAMSAR sites, it should take steps to not destroy it. They said though Kolleru lake has been declared as a RAMSAR site, the destruction of the lake was going on.
Coringa qualifies to be included as an internationally important one, which contains a representative, rare, or unique example of a natural wetland type found within the bio-geographic. Mangroves with most productive and natural ecosystem, tidal flats with exposing during low-tides utilized by large number of shorebirds, gulls, egrets and others a feeding grounds, Lagoon within sanctuary which support large number of fish and bird species.
Coringa is surrounded by about two kilometres of stretch of mainland beach, which attract tourists and support for shoreline organisms of three major rivers, Gowthami, and its tributaries Gaderu and Corangi besides 32 canals traversing the mangroves, flood plain, natural levees, Kakinada bay, sand pits and conserving biological diversity and meets Ramsar criteria....