Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur underlined the need for community participation in preserving wetlands for sustainable livelihood in the state.
While presiding over the state level wetland day at Jawali in Kangra district, he said that HP encompasses a wide variety of wetlands, spread in various ecological zones which apart from biodiversity treasures were source of livelihood for the local community and have immense aesthetic and tourism values.
He exhorted the people to participate actively to conserve and assist restore wetlands that are a source of livelihoods and also as they help reduce flooding, replenish drinking water, filter-waste, provide urban green spaces.
Urban wetlands should be integrated into a city’s sustainable future planning and development, he said, adding that the visitors should also be sensitised about littering of waste management through Information, Education and communication programmes.
The core objective should be to conserve and help restoration of wetlands and involve locals at planning, implementation and monitoring level.
The CM said that there were three wetland sites in HP that include Ramsar wetland sites as Pong Dam in Kangra, Renuka in Sirmaur and Chandertaal in Lahaul and Spiti.
The Ramsar wetland at Pong Dam has become a famous bird sanctuary, which had witnessed increases in a number of migratory birds, mostly from Siberia, Central Asia, Russia and trans-Himalayan region in Tibet, he said.
The CM also released a booklet ‘Major Wetlands of Himachal Pradesh’ and a calendar of Pong Wetland. He also congratulated the children for paintings on wetland.
However, the number of birds visiting the Pong Dam this year was 1.10 Lakh as compared to 1.27 lakh in 2017-18. The reason being quoted is climatic change due to global warming, which has affected all the wetlands of India. The number of species as compared to 93 in 2017-18 has increased to 117 in 2018.
The CM said that there was need to study the behavioural changes of migratory birds as well and take measures to improve their habitat.