Manipur celebrated ‘World Wetland Day’ under the theme “Wetland Restoration” and sub-theme “Roles and Responsibility of Community” on Thursday at Yaral Pat, Imphal East.
The programme was organized by the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change in association with The Yaral Pat Integrated Farming Cooperative Society Ltd and Green Gold Park and Resort.
Experts attending during the ceremony expressed the importance of a community who is staying together with wetland needs to participate in restoration of a wetland.
Local people of Yaral Pat, who have been extending their continuous support in the restoration of the Yaral Pat, urged to carry out a survey of the economic viability of people settling around the wetland, to carry out holistic restoration methods including ecosystem-habitat-soil situation.
Joint director of the directorate of environment and climate change, T Brajakumar, said that Manipur State Remote Application Centre had identified 113 wetlands or water bodies. Out of these, 23 are recommended by Manipur State Wetlands Authority to carry out a study for the feasibility of sustainable management and conservation. On the basis of this report, seven wetlands were selected as state priorities under Wetlands (Management and Conservation) Rules 2017.
“It has been said that there were more than 700 wetlands in Manipur but according to a survey report of India 1970, there were 550 wetlands. But the directorate studies found 113 wetlands”, said the joint director.
Brajakumar also stressed the importance of local communities, who are staying in and around a wetland, their roles and responsibilities for restoring a wetland. Mentioning about the Yaral-Pat, he said Yaral Pat was once a swampy area in Imphal East having the perfect ecosystem of wetland as many flora-fauna, many living creatures and species and migratory birds are inhabited in this place.
However, the Yaral-Pat was degraded and the ecosystem was almost dead. But the state government in cooperation with local people started its restoration process in 2009. As an indicator of restoring the wetland, many birds have started migrating into this wetland. Yaral-Pat is among seven wetlands selected for restoration, he added.
It may be mentioned that according to the National Wetland Atlas Report 2010 by Space Application Centre, ISRO, 2.3 per cent of the total geographical area of Manipur is a wetland.
Around 167 wetlands are above 2.25 hectares and 541 wetlands are less than 2.25 hectares. But most of the wetlands have been gradually lost, driven by man-made and natural processes. The majority of wetlands have disappeared mostly due to anthropogenic factors like the setting of offices, buildings, urbanization, conversion of agricultural land etc.
Manipur State Wetlands Authority technical chairman, Kh Shamungou said that wetlands are considered as “kidney of nature” and restoration of wetlands would eventually conserve many biodiversity which are on the verge of extinction.
He also said that degradation of wetland is three times more than degradation of forest. It is true that restoration of wetland requires participation of community, protection without community is impossible.
Environmentalist, Rajesh Salam said that the international forum realises the necessity of community involvement, particularly by people settling in periphery areas in the restoration of the ecosystem, after series of discussion.
“Developed countries wetland protection if they sighted any new species in the wetland,” Rajesh Salam, said, adding the state should also regulate that law.
The celebration was attended by technical expert teams of Manipur State Wetland Authority and locals of Yaral-Pat.
Those seven wetlands are Utra Pat (Pat means wetland in the local language) in Bishnupur district, Ikop-Karung Pat in Thoubal District, Pumlen-Khoidum Pat in Thoubal District, Waithou/Phumnom Pat in Imphal East/Thoubal District, Yaral Pat in Imphal East District, Jaimeng Lake in Kangpokpi and Khayang Kachopung in Kamjong District. Out of these seven wetlands, Yaral Pat, Waithou-Phumnom Pat, Utra Pat and Jaimeng Lake have been sanctioned by the recent National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-System (NPCA) under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India.