Lakes, ponds, and water bodies are well-known wildlife habitat for many aquatic and terrestrial species (both nocturnal and diurnal), commonly called as wetlands. The species may be either residents or migrants. They regulate soil formation, biodiversity, groundwater recharge, flood protection, and climatic cycles. More importantly, they are also commonly known as kidneys of the landscape or lungs of the aquifer or biological supermarket for its diverse ecosystem services. Wetlands make rural and cities liveable in many important ways by sustaining the basic ecosystem services and life support systems.

Recognizing its importance, the ‘World Wetlands Day’ is celebrated every year on 2 February. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. ‘World Wetlands Day’ was first celebrated in 1997. Since then government agencies, non-government organizations, and community groups have celebrated ‘World Wetlands Day’ by undertaking actions to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits thereby promoting its conservation, wise use and rehabilitation. In tune with this, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) Government of India had also notified new Wetland (Conservation and ManagementRules 2017 to protect and conserve by prohibiting a range of activities in wetlands.

There are at least 115 wetlands that are officially identified by the Central Government and of those 26 were identified as ‘wetlands of international importance’ under Ramsar Convention, which is an international inter-governmental treaty for the conservation of wetlands. India is a party to the treaty.

In tune with this, at Puducherry a consortia of organizations: Department of Forest & Wild Life, Pondicherry University, and Association for Promoting Sustainability in Campuses and Communities (APSCC) as lead organization, have joined together and hosted an event in pressing the concept “wetlands should be protected, conserved and integrated into a sustainable future planning and development” at Indira Gandhi College of Arts and Science, Kadhirkamam, Govt. of Puducherry, by 3.00 pm on 02 February 2019 (Saturday). The event also fosters the Sustainable Development Goals like Sustainable cities and communities (Goal 11), Climate action (Goal 13), Life below water (Goal 14), Life on land (Goal 15), Partnerships for the goals (Goal 17).

Dr. B. Kumaran, Principal, initiated the awareness program by delivering the Welcome Address, followed the Presidential Address by Thiru. G. Kumar, IFS, Conservator of Forest and Wildlife, Special Address by  Prof. K. V. Devi Prasad, Dept. of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, Pondicherry University and  Keynote Address by Dr. M. Nandhivarman, Program Chair. The dignitary distributed the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Prize to the winners of the painting competition on the Wetland Day theme.  ‘The Wetland Day Pledge’ was also taken in the presence of Dr. Golda A. Edwin (Convener of the Program), Dr. E. Devabalan (State NSS Coordinator), & Mr. D. Satish Kumar (NSS Officer), Enforcement Authorities (Forest & Wildlife Department), Students, Faculties and others.

Wetlands support a complex set of birdlife, animals, insects, and reptiles, and are very sensitive to pollution. In order for the plants and animals of Puducherry Wetlands to have healthy habitats, everyone must do their part to protect this environment. Personal decisions that people make every day about their behavior concerning the environment can either help or hinder the health of these habitats. In view of these challenges, we will pledge our time, knowledge and resources to protect our wetlands.

PLEDGE

  1. I will learn about habitats, endangered species, and migratory birds and teach others what I’ve learned
  2. I will try to adopt a creek, wetland, or endangered species
  3. I will participate in a wetland Clean-Up activity
  4. I will join programs that help protect and restore wetlands.
  5. I will Conserve water
  6. I will report any poaching or illegal activities and write letters to legislators
  7. I will pick up all litter and dispose of in appropriate waste bins to keep drains clear
  8. I will plant local tree species, shrubs and flowers to keep the ecological balance of local wetlands.
  9. I will use phosphate-free laundry and dishwashing detergents
  10. I will use paper and recycled products made from unbleached paper
  11. I will use non-toxic products for household cleaning
  12. I will reduce, reuse and recycle household items and waste.

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Media Link : https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/seminar-rally-mark-world-wetlands-day/article26197509.ece

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