Wetlands being identified in Rajasthan to protect biodiversity
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Wetlands
- The wetlands, which play an important role in the storage of sediment and nutrients, are being identified in Rajasthan for ensuring their utilisation and enabling the local authorities to maintain them.
- While six wetlands are already identified in the State, 52 more have been earmarked for time-bound development.
- Wetlands would be strengthened for increasing vegetation of aquatic plants and protecting biodiversity.
- No waste would be allowed to be dumped at the wetlands and effective steps would be taken for water conservation
- Strict action would be taken against those running submersible pump sets for illegal salt mining in the Sambhar Lake.
- The State Government’s Directorate of Environment and Climate Change will function as the secretariat of the State Wetland Authority.
- The fresh and saline lakes supporting unique ecosystems in the State would be protected with the strict implementation of the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2019
Important value additions
- They are highly productive ecosystems that provide the world with nearly two-thirds of its fish harvest.
- They play an integral role in the ecology of the watershed.
- They provide an ideal environment for organisms that form the base of the food web and feed many species of aquatic animals.
- They help in carbon sequestration (removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere).
- They provide habitat for animals and plants and support plants and animals that are found nowhere else.
- They are also an important source of ground water recharge.
Threats to Wetlands
- Agriculture: Construction of a large number of reservoirs, canals and dams have altered the hydrology of the associated wetlands.
- Pollution: Due to mercury from industrial sources
- Climate Change: Increased air temperature; increased frequency of storms, droughts, and floods; increased sea level rise
- Dredging and sand mining: Dredging of streams lowers the surrounding water table and dries up adjacent wetlands.
- Exotic Species: Exotic introduced plant species such as water hyacinth and salvinia clog waterways and compete with native vegetation.