Environmental protection crisis can be saved by mutual benefit coordination of media, governments and cohesive efforts of global masses

2February, Shimla

Assist. Prof. Pyaar Singh Thakur

World Wetland Day is celebrated on 2nd February all over the world and Wetlands Day is organized to raise global awareness about the important role of wetlands for people and our planet Earth. On this day i.e. in the year 1971, a Convention on Wetlands was held in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The theme of World Wetlands Day for the year 2019 was ‘Wetlands and Climate Change’. The themes approved by the Standing Committee of the Ramsar Convention/Convention on Wetlands for the next two years 2020 and 2021 are – 2020 – Wetlands and Biodiversity 2021 – Wetlands and Water and 2022 – Wetlands and water are accepted themes for public awareness. The role of media has become indispensable in today’s public awareness campaign for wetland and water conservation as during the past efforts it was seen that many countries globally did not involve their country’s media in this direction. So that media can inspire people to protect wild animals and species along with wetland and water conservation. There is also no special forum available in the media about environmental protection and for its protection, when it should be. There are very few media channels that report on wetland conservation including environmental protection or open the eyes of people and other organizations including government in this direction, while the media being so powerful, the world human community is not aware of environmental protection in the right direction. And other governments also do not take steps with the media in this direction, nor do the governments provide special packages and budgets for the media so that the media can help people in their homes, institutions, offices, villages and cities for environmental protection. Can make you aware The media fulfills its responsibility to this extent by publishing sporadic news only on the occasion of Environment Day or Wetland Day, whereas governments should continuously establish coordination with the media in this direction, then only the message of environmental protection will reach the people as well as The message of the cleanliness campaign is reaching the people on a large scale through the combined efforts of the media and the government. In the same way, for wetland and water conservation and environmental protection, the media, government and people should not be held back from being ready to take concrete steps, otherwise the coming time will be risky for human life. The Evolution of Organisms on Earth by the Standing Committee of the Ramsar Convention/Convention on Wetlands/Wetlands is a long story and the gist of this story is that not only humans have rights on the earth but also the millions of species existing in its various parts. But there is as much right as man. We get fascinated by the variety of plants and animals (rich biodiversity) found in rivers, lakes, seas, forests and mountains. When rich biodiversity is seen on both water and land, then the thing to think about is that the place where aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity meets, how rich will it be in terms of biodiversity? Actually, wetland is a special type of ecosystem and is an important part of biodiversity. Due to the meeting place of aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity, due to the abundance of wildlife, species and flora, the wetland is a rich ecosystem. It becomes possible that we conserve our biodiversity. In the year 2017, a new legal framework called Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017 has been introduced for the conservation of wetlands. There are many people in the world who are ignorant about wetlands. Knowing what is a wetland and public awareness campaign about it has become very important. Actually, the area with moisture or marshy land is called wetland or wetland. Wetlands are areas where moisture is found in abundance and it also has many benefits. Wetlands make water free from pollution. A wetland is an area that is partially or completely filled with water throughout the year. Wetlands in India extend from the cold and dry regions to the tropical monsoon regions of central India and the humid regions of the south. It is also necessary to know that why are wetlands important? Wetlands are called biological super-markets because they form elaborate food webs. Food webs consist of several food chains and are believed to represent the actual feeding behavior of organisms in an ecosystem. A rich food-web signifies rich biodiversity and that is why it is called a biological supermarket. Wetlands are also called ‘Kidneys of the Landscape’ or ‘Kidneys of Landscape’. Just as the work of purifying water in our body is done by the kidneys, similarly the wetland system purifies the water through the water cycle and removes the polluting substances. Water is a substance whose state is relatively easy to change. The water cycle is the cyclic process of conversion of water available on Earth from one form to another and from one reservoir to another or from one place to another. The water cycle goes on continuously and keeps the sources clean and without it life on earth would be impossible. Helpful in the production of useful plants and medicinal plants: Wetlands are a rich system not only from the point of view of animals but also from the point of view of plants, where useful flora and medicinal plants are also found in abundance. Therefore, they play an important role in the production of useful plants and medicinal plants. Important for the livelihood of the people: All the major civilizations of the world have settled near the water sources and even today wetlands are playing an important role in providing food to the world. Talking about the ancient Indian civilizations, they used to live near the water sources. The livelihood of people living near wetlands is largely dependent on them, directly or indirectly. What is important for environmental protection? Wetlands are ecosystems that absorb excess water during floods. In this way, flood water collects in lakes and ponds, thereby saving human habitable areas from being submerged. Not only this, by performing important roles like ‘carbon absorption’ and ‘increasing ground water level’, wetlands contribute significantly to environmental protection. Therefore it is important. International efforts to conserve wetlands were first made through the Ramsar Convention. The Ramsar Wetlands Convention is an intergovernmental treaty that provides a framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. On February 2, 1971, different countries of the world had signed a treaty for the protection of the world’s wetlands in Ramsar, Iran, hence World Wetlands Day is organized on this day. According to the data till the year 2015, so far 169 parties have registered their consent to the Ramsar Convention, of which India is also one. There are currently more than 2200 wetlands, which have been included in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance and have a total area of ​​more than 2.1 million square kilometers. Significantly, the Ramsar Convention is the first global environmental treaty dealing with specific ecosystems. The Ramsar Wetlands Convention was organized with the aim of calling for international attention to the extinction of wetlands. Governments participating in this Convention are committed to providing assistance to reverse the damage and degradation of wetlands caused by them. The Ramsar Convention set goals that environmental protection requires a framework of international consultation and cooperation. The National Efforts for Wetlands Conservation were made to run the Wetland Conservation Programme. The Government of India started the National Wetland Conservation Program during the year 1986 in collaboration with the respective State Governments. Under this programme, 115 wetlands were identified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, which need initiatives for conservation and management. The objective of this scheme is to conserve and make wise use of wetlands in the country, so that their degradation can be stopped. What is ‘Wetland Conservation and Management Rules, 2017’? It is pertinent to know that in the year 2017 new rules related to conservation of wetlands have been notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The Wetlands Conservation and Management Rules, 2017 will replace the earlier guidelines, which came into force in 2010. There are discrepancies in the new rules such as in the 2010 rules, some criteria related to wetlands were clarified, such as natural beauty, ecological sensitivity, genetic diversity, historical value etc., but in the new rules i.e. 2017 rules these things has not been mentioned. The ban on ongoing activities in the wetlands will be done in accordance with the principle of ‘intelligent use’ to be determined by the state wetlands authority. Under the new rules, no authority has been given the right to issue such guidelines which are binding in nature to prevent activities that cause damage to wetland conservation. Therefore, it is clear that the new rules will prove to be insufficient for the conservation of wetlands. There are a few good things about the new rules: Actually, it would not be fair to say that everything is bad in the rules of the year 2017. It also includes some important things. The new rules adopt a decentralized approach to wetlands management, so that regionally specific needs can be met and states can set their own priorities. Most of the decisions will be taken by the state wetlands authority, which will be overseen by the National Wetlands Committee. Such a system strengthens the spirit of cooperative federalism. It is also necessary to consider what is the way forward. Actually, only 26 wetlands present in India have been protected, but there are thousands of such wetlands in India which are biologically and economically important but their legal status is not clear. However, an attempt has been made to give a clearer definition in the new rules. Wetlands planning, management and monitoring come under Protected Area Network. Although many laws protect wetlands, there are no laws specifically for their ecology. Integrated access is essential for these, as they are common assets for multi-purpose utility and it is everyone’s responsibility to protect and manage them. Scientific information will help the planners understand the economic importance and benefits. Therefore, policy-makers have to be made aware of the scientific importance of wetlands. As far as awareness is concerned, the general public also needs to be made aware about the conservation of these wetlands and media can play a better role in this direction. Talking about the new rules, the wetlands are not listed under any specific administrative jurisdiction and the primary responsibility of managing this ecosystem has been in the hands of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. From this point of view, the participation of the states in a sensitive matter like conservation of wetlands is important and with this the participation of the media, government and people should be ensured, but at the same time it should also be ensured that there is no compromise on their conservation but it should be done by all in their daily life. Commit to wetlands conservation, water conservation and environmental protection by including it in the priority of life.

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