India add two more Ramsar sites
GS Paper - 3 (Environment)
The Khijadiya Bird Sanctuary near Jamnagar in Gujarat and Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh has been listed as Wetlands of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. The announcement by the Ramsar secretariat in Iran came on the eve of International Wetlands Day (2 February). With this, the total number of Ramsar sites in India goes up to 49.
- Khijadiya, which is part of the Central Asian Flyway, has become the fourth wetland of Gujarat to get the Ramsar tag.
- Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, Thol Wildlife Sanctuary and Wadhwana wetland are the other Ramsar sites in the state. The last two were included in April last year.
- Khijadia Wildlife Sanctuary (Ramsar site No. 2464), a freshwater wetland near the coast of the Gulf of Kutch, was formed following the creation of a bund (dike) in 1920 by the then ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Nawanagar to protect farmlands from saltwater ingress.
- The sanctuary is now part of Marine National Park, Jamnagar and the first marine national park in the country.
- On the other hand, Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary (site no. 2465), a freshwater marsh in the Sant Kabir Nagar district, is the largest natural floodplain wetland of eastern Uttar Pradesh.
- The Sanctuary was established in 1980 and is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act (1972); an “eco-sensitive zone” extends up to a kilometre around its boundary.
World Wetlands Day 2022
- Every year on 2 February, people across the globe observe World Wetlands Day in order to raise awareness among people about wetlands.
- The main aim of the day is to understand the influence and positive production that Wetlands have had on the world and in terms bring communities together for the benefit of Mother Nature.
- The theme of this year is 'Wetlands action for people and nature', highlighting the importance of actions to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands for humans and planetary health.