Thane Creek gets ‘RAMSAR’ status; will boost tourism, create job opportunities

The Center on Saturday accorded the ”Ramsar” status to the Thane Creek area spread over 6521.08 hectares. The Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav announced the decison by accepting the request made by the former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray in February this year.

The Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government had sent the proposal to the Centre, which was prepared by the State Mangrove Cell after Thackeray’s approval.

As reported by the Free Press Journal, the MVA government discussed that once “Ramsar” status is granted, it will attract tourists from the country and abroad for bird watching and this, in turn, will promote the environment and tourism besides creating job opportunities for the local people. In addition, this will convey the importance of the swampy areas to the people and accelerate their protection and conservation activities besides taking it on the global tourist map.

“The move will also convey the importance of swampy areas to people and accelerate their protection and conservation besides putting them on the global tourist map,” Yadav said in a statement.

A Ramsar site is a wetland of international importance. The aim of the Ramsar designation is “to develop and maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life through the maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and benefits”.

Further, the MVA government had said that ‘”In the Thane Creek area along with Flamingos migrating from abroad the other bird species are also found. That accords gives special importance to this mangrove area from a global point of view.”

“An approximate 65 sq km area of ​​Thane Creek is proposed to be identified as the Ramsar area, of which 17 sq km is the area of ​​the reserved forest. The remaining 48 sq km area is notified as an environmentally sensitive area in October 2021. This will help preserve the biodiversity of this area with more ease,” said CMO.

It would be also easy to protect and conserve the flamingos and other bird species in this area.

Ramsar places in Maharashtra:

The Nandur Madhmeshwar reserved forest in Nasik district has been granted the “Ramsar” Status at the January 2020 International Mangrove Ramsar conference. This is the first Ramsar place in Maharashtra. Lonar in Buldana district is another Ramsar place declared in November 2020.

What is Ramsar Status:

The first “Ramsar Conference” was held at Ramsar city in Iran in 1971. Several decisions regarding conservation and preservation of global mangrove areas and their environment complementary uses were taken at this conference. The action plan for this was also prepared. According to this action plan, each participating country was urged to identify globally important mangrove areas and declare them as “Ramsar” places. Lakes, rivers, ponds, swamps, creeks, seashores, and paddy fields are included in mangrove areas.

244 ‘Ramsar’ places in the world:

India signed the agreement in 1982 and took steps to protect and conserve the mangroves. At present, 244 global mangroves have been accorded the “Ramsar” status. They include 49 such mangroves in India too.

India adds 11 more wetlands to the list of Ramsar Sites:

India added 11 more wetlands to the list of Ramsar sites to make a total of 75 Ramsar sites covering an area of ​​13,26,677 ha in the country in the 75th year of Independence.

Bhupender Yadav in a tweet said, “Pm Shri @narendramodi Ji’s love and care for the environment is helping India scale newer heights in conservation. Elated to inform you that 11 more Indian wetlands have got Ramsar recognition. This takes our tally to 75 sites. “

The 11 new sites include four sites in Tamil Nadu, three in Odisha, two in Jammu & Kashmir and one each in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Designation of these sites would help in the conservation and management of wetlands and the wise use of their resources.

India is one of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971. India signed it on 1st Feb 1982. From 1982 to 2013, a total of 26 sites were added to the list of Ramsar sites, however, from 2014 to 2022, the country has added 49 new wetlands to the list of Ramsar sites.

During this year itself (2022) a total of 28 sites have been declared as Ramsar sites. Based on the date of designation mentioned on the Ramsar Certificate, the number is 19 for this year (2022) and 14 for the previous year (2021).

Tamil Nadu has a maximum number of Ramsar sites (14), followed by UP which has 10 of Ramsar sites.

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