India has added five more Ramsar sites, or wetlands that are of international importance, bringing the number of such sites to 54, Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav tweeted on 26th July.
“Delighted to inform that 5 more Indian wetlands have got Ramsar recognition as wetlands of international importance,” Mr. Yadav tweeted.
These are the Karikili Bird Sanctuary, Pallikaranai Marsh Reserve Forest and Pichavaram Mangrove in Tamil Nadu, the Sakhya Sagar in Madhya Pradesh and Pala Wetland in Mizoram.
India’s Ramsar wetlands are spread over 11,000 sq km — around 10% of the total wetland area in the country — across 18 States. No other South Asian country has as many sites though this has much to do with India’s geographical breadth and tropical diversity. The United Kingdom (175) and Mexico (142) — smaller countries than India — have the maximum Ramsar sites whereas Bolivia spans the largest area with 148,000 sq km under the Convention protection.
To be Ramsar site, the wetland must meet at least one of nine criteria as defined by the Ramsar Convention of 1961, such as supporting vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities or, if it regularly supports 20,000 or more waterbirds or, is an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path on which fish stocks are dependent upon.
Wetlands in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat serve as important spaces for migratory birds. Wetlands are also known to have among the highest soil-carbon densities and therefore play a major role in buffering carbon dioxide emissions.