IMPHAL: In an address at the 'World Wetlands Day' at NIT East Campus, Lamphelpat, Manipur's Director of Environment and Climate Change, T Brajakumar, raised a red flag on the alarming disappearance of wetlands globally, with 90 percent facing damage or degradation. Stressing the collective responsibility to protect these invaluable ecosystems, he noted that Manipur's Loktak Lake is one of India's 75 Ramsar Sites.
The director highlighted that approximately 1.65 percent of Manipur's geographical area was underwater in 1989-90, emphasizing the growing threat to wetlands. Out of 708 wetlands identified in the National Wetland Atlas 2009, 23 are recommended for sustainable management, with seven under consideration for state priority status.
This year's theme, "Wetlands and Human Wellbeing," aims to underscore the interconnectedness of human health and the environment with wetlands. Director Brajakumar emphasized three key messages: investing in wetland sustainability secures humanity's future, wetlands offer economic and cultural benefits to cities, and restoring wetlands is crucial for addressing the climate-biodiversity crisis and achieving Sustainable Development Goals.
Minister Th Biswajit Singh acknowledged wetland degradation as a global concern caused by human-induced processes. He urged citizens to actively participate in wetland protection, emphasizing that it's not solely the government's responsibility. Minister Awangbow Newmai stressed the collective responsibility to protect the planet and highlighted the degrading wetlands in Manipur due to human activities.
The call for action aligns with the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration [2021-2030], urging the protection and revival of ecosystems worldwide. Director Brajakumar appealed to reverse the decline of natural wetlands by 2030.
To engage the community, the directorate organized quiz, photo, and spot painting competitions on Manipur's wetlands, encouraging active participation from students and officials alike. As the observance concluded, prizes were awarded to the winners, emphasizing the importance of raising awareness and fostering a sense of responsibility for wetland conservation.