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About Dhanauri Wetland


The eco-sensitive Dhanauri wetland site is yet to be granted protection.


GS III- Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Dhanauri wetlands
  2. What is a Ramsar Site?
  3. Ramsar Convention
  4. What are wetlands?

About Dhanauri wetlands:

  • Dhanauri wetlands support a fairly large population of the vulnerable sarus crane and a congregation of at least 20,000 waterfowl and other species.
  • It is possibly the largest roosting site for sarus cranes in north India.
  • It receives water from three or four sources such as rainwater and runoff from fields that are irrigated.
  • Encroachments: The wetlands themselves are threatened by encroachments and pressure from construction activities nearby, thus making its protection inevitable.
    • The NGT, in its November 20, 2023, order, had noted that the wetland area demarcated in the master plan appears to be lesser as compared to that in the wetlands inventory.
    • A bird-watcher Anand Arya, had also filed a petition in the NGT seeking a stay on the construction of the Noida International Airport in Jewar till the wetland is granted protection. The Airport is set to be operational by September 2024.
    • While granting environmental clearance to the proposed airport, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had laid down a specific condition that a “conservation plan for birds and fauna, in consultation with the Wildlife Institute of India, shall be submitted within six months from the grant of clearance and be implemented in letter and spirit”. However, the Uttar Pradesh government has yet to make a decision in this regard.

What is a Ramsar Site? 

  • A Ramsar site is a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
  • Ramsar sites are recorded on the List of Ramsar wetlands of international importance.
  • The Ramsar Classification System for Wetland Type is a wetland classification developed within the Ramsar Convention intended as a means for fast identification of the main types of wetlands for the purposes of the Convention.
  • The countries with most sites are the United Kingdom with 175 and Mexico with 142.
  • The country with the greatest area of listed wetlands is Bolivia.

Ramsar Convention

  • The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands.
  • It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the Convention was signed in 1971.
  • The 2nd of February each year is World Wetlands Day, marking the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands.
  • The Convention’s mission is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.
  • Every three years, representatives of the Contracting Parties meet as the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP), the policy-making organ of the Convention which adopts decisions (Resolutions and Recommendations) to administer the work of the Convention and improve the way in which the Parties are able to implement its objectives.

What are wetlands?

  • A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently or seasonally, where oxygen-free processes prevail.
  • The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation of aquatic plants, adapted to the unique hydric soil.
  • The main wetland types are swamp, marsh, bog, and fen; sub-types include mangrove forest, carr, pocosin, floodplains, mire, vernal pool, sink, and many others.
  • The largest wetlands include the Amazon River basin, the West Siberian Plain, the Pantanal in South America, and the Sundarbans in the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta.

-Source: The Indian Express, Hindustan times

February 2024