Najafgarh jheel wetland
Part of: Prelims and GS-III Environment
Context: Recently, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed Delhi and Haryana to enforce the Environment Management Plans (EMP) that the two governments have prepared for the rejuvenation and protection of the Najafgarh jheel, a transboundary wetland.
- According to NGT, the implementation of these action plans is to be monitored by the National Wetland Authority through the respective State Wetland Authorities.
- The Union Environment Ministry set up a three-member committee to prepare an integrated EMP
- The panel suggested setting up a “Transboundary Najafgarh Jheel Management Committee”.
- According to this plan, the top priority would be to notify the Najafgarh jheel and its area of influence under The Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017.
- The rules prohibit and regulate certain activities within wetlands and their ‘zone of influence’.
What is a Wetland?
- Wetland is transitional land between terrestrial and aquatic eco-systems where water table is usually at or near surface or it may be land covered by shallow water.
- Importance– Wetlands supports rich biodiversity and provides wide range of ecosystem services such as water storage and purification, flood mitigation, erosion control, aquifer recharge etc.
- In India there are 115 wetlands officially identified by Central Government.
- Out of these, 26 have identified as wetlands of international importance under Ramsar Convention designated as Ramsar sites.
- The Ramsar list is a list of wetland sites that are deemed to be of “international importance” under the Ramsar Convention, 1971 (India is a signatory to it)
- The list aim “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”
About Najafgarh jheel/Marsh wetland
- Najafgarh Lake, fed by Sahibi River, used to be a vast lake in the south west Delhi
- It was connected to the river Yamuna by a natural shallow nullah or drain called the Najafgarh nullah.
- The presence of 281 bird species, including several threatened ones such as Egyptian vulture, Sarus Crane, Steppe Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Imperial Eagle and those migrating along the Central Asian Flyway has been reported at the lake.
- It is the second largest water body in Delhi-NCR after the Yamuna.
- The lake is largely filled with sewage from Gurugram and surrounding villages of Delhi.
What is NGT?
- It is a statutory body established in 2010, as per the National Green Tribunal Act.
- It is a specialised judicial body equipped with expertise solely for the purpose of adjudicating environmental cases in the country.
- The chairperson of the NGT is a retired judge of the Supreme Court
- It shall not be bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
- Tribunal’s orders are binding and it has power to grant relief in the form of compensation and damages to affected persons.
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