Manipur State Wetland Authority had selected seven wetlands for its restoration under Wetlands (Management and Conservation) Rules 2017.
This was informed by the joint director of the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change on February 2 during the observance ceremony of World Wetlands Day under the theme “Wetland Restoration” and sub-theme “Roles and Responsibility of Community”.
The program was organized by the Directorate of Environment and Climate Change in association with The Yaral Pat Integrated Farming Co-operative Society Ltd. and Green Gold Park and Resort, Yaralpat at Yaral Pat Imphal East.
Yaral Pat was once a swampy area in Imphal East having the perfect ecosystem of wetland as many floras faunas, many living creatures and species and migratory birds are inhabited in this place.
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However, in due course of time, its ecosystem was almost lost due to the gradual disappearance of this wetland. But the state government in cooperation with local people started its restoration process in 2009. As an indicator of restoring the wetland, many birds have started migrating into this wetland.
Addressing the function, Brajakumar said that according to National Wetland Atlas Report 2010 by Space Application Centre, ISRO, 2.3 per cent of the total geographical area of Manipur is a wetland.
Around 167 wetlands are above 2.25 hectares and 541 wetlands are lesser than 2.25 hectares. But most of the wetlands has been gradually lost driven by man-made and natural process. The majority of wetlands are disappeared mostly due to anthropogenic factors like the setting of offices, buildings, urbanization, conversion of agricultural land etc.
He continued that the importance of wetlands is increasing with the advent of climate change impact. It plays a great role in maintaining micro-climatic conditions. Above this wetlands are considered as “kidney of nature” and restoration of wetlands would eventually conserve many biodiversities which are on the verge of extinction.
With these views, the state government is putting concerted effort to conserve at least some wetlands.
Manipur State Remote Application Centre had identified 119 wetlands or water bodies. Out of these, 23 are recommended by Manipur State Wetlands Authority to carry out a study for the feasibility of sustainable management and conservation. On the basis of this report, seven wetlands were selected as state priorities under Wetlands (Management and Conservation) Rules 2017.
They are Utra Pat (Pat means wetland in the local language) in Bishnupur district, Ikop-Karung Pat in Thoubal District, Pumlen-Khoidum Pat in Thoubal District, Waithou/Phumnom Pat in Imphal East/Thoubal District, Yaral Pat in Imphal East District, Jaimeng Lake in Kangpokpi and Khayang Kachopung in Kamjong District. Out of these seven wetlands, Yaral Pat, Waithou-Phumnom Pat, Utra Pat and Jaimeng Lake have been sanctioned by the recent National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Eco-System (NPCA) under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, he added.
During the observance ceremony, the local people of Yaral Pat extended their continuous support in the restoration of the Yaral Pat. They also shared their suggestion to carry out a survey of the economic condition of people settling around the wetland.
Environmentalist, Salam Rajesh also said that the United Nation stressed the necessity of community involvement, particularly by people settling in periphery areas in the restoration of the ecosystem. The international forum gets this realisation after conducting a series of discussions and case studies.
He further said that in developed countries like Europe, they used to declare wetlands as protected areas had they sighted any new species.
There is a need of regulating such laws in the state etc as many wetland areas of the state are dying at a fast pace.
Restoration of Yaralpat is of utmost need because it is the flyway of two rare migratory birds in the state. Besides this, the flower that blooms in this wetland "Kombirei" is close to the culture of Manipur, he added.
He suggested that the livelihood of people in surrounding areas of the wetland can't be neglected. Without their support and cooperation, the wetland wouldn't be possible to conserve. The state government can develop a low-scale eco-tourism model in this wetland for the welfare of the local people.
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