Smart Guwahati at the cost of natural heritage

  |   Assamnews

Wetlands are vital to our water needs, food production and act as important repositories of aquatic biodiversity. In addition to hosting a wide variety of plant and animal life, wetlands also provide water storage, filtration and offer us protection from floods. Despite their vital economic role, there is an appalling lack of awareness about the functions and significance of wetlands among the masses. Even our Central environmental policy largely failed to acknowledge their contribution and the State governments classify them as wasteland in land records! So there has been rapid conversion of water bodies to other uses.

Wetlands are at the moment going through policy transition in the country. The new legal framework for wetlands—the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017, has replaced the earlier Rules of 2010. The 2010 and 2017 Rules for wetlands both emphasize that the ecological character of wetlands ought to be maintained for their conservation. In the 2010 Rules, some related criteria for wetlands such as natural beauty, ecological sensitivity, genetic diversity, historical value, etc were made explicit. However, these have been omitted in the 2017 Rules. The 2017 Rules came under severe criticism for doing away with strong wetland monitoring systems and omitting important wetland types....

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