Wetlands are distinct ecosystems characterized by the presence of water, either permanently or seasonally, resulting in oxygen-free (anoxic) processes, especially in the soils. Wetlands, being ecologically fragile, play a crucial role in maintaining the country’s ecological balance and overall environmental health.
National Wetland Conservation Programme (NWCP) was initiated by the Government of India during the year 1985 – 86 with the primary objective of conserving wetlands to prevent their further degradation.
- Identification and Conservation of wetlands of international
- Financial Assistance to assist states for wetlands conservation
- Monitoring and Implementation: Regular monitoring of the wetlands under the programme is done to ensure effective implementation of conservation measures.
- Research and Database Development while maintaining a central database.
Appraisal: NWCP has been instrumental in drawing attention to the importance of wetlands and their conservation in India. However, the lack of a centralized wetland policy and overlapping roles of different governmental bodies have sometimes hindered effective conservation. Aso, the process of industrialisation and urbanisation in parallel has proved to be challenges.
Areas where the programme could be strengthened:
- Holistic approach is required to address the growing threats to wetlands, such as encroachments, pollution, and climate change, in a more comprehensive manner.
- Community Involvement
- Coordination: Between central and state agencies can enhance the effectiveness of the programme.
Although the new Wetland Rules, 2017 has tried to address the issues adopting a more decentralised approach, there is a need for continuous appraisal and adaptation to address emerging challenges and ensure the long-term conservation of these vital ecosystems.