World Wetlands Day observed at Mansar Wetland in JK

Jammu, February 3  (Scoop News) –Minister of State for Forests, Environment & Ecology, Dr. Manohar Lal Sharma, underlined the need for involvement of the local communities in conservation of wetlands. Highlighting the role played by communities in various prominent environmental movements of India, he said the wetlands and water bodies are our main water resources.

            The Minister and Chief Guest ,Dr. Manohar Lal  was addressing at a function organized in connection with celebrating World Wetlands Day by the  Department of Wildlife Protection, in collaboration with World Wide Fund for nature-India (WWF-India) and Department of Environment and Remote Sensing, Govt. at Mansar Wetland, a Ramsar Site, in Jammu here today.

            The Minister assured that the Government shall strive hard to ensure that the wetlands of J&K are conserved and maintained in the best interests of the people of the state. The World Wetlands Day was, for the first time, organized on 2nd February, 1997 and every year since then various agencies at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity provided by this day to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in our daily lives .

            Dr Lal highlighted the importance of wetlands & their significance in human life. He said that wetlands apart from providing multiple benefits to human society also act as important wildlife refuges and added it gives shelter to priceless migrated birds.    

             The programme was attended by a numerous personalities, senior citizens including school students, members of panchayat, scientists, academicians, conservationists, officials from different Govt. departments and common masses.

            Dr. O.P. Sharma, Chief Conservator of Forests underlined the threats that jeopardize the existence of wetlands in the so called modernized world.

            Sh. Suresh Chough, Director, Environment and Remote Sensing highlighted the role of Mansar and Surinsar wetlands as an important source of water in the surrounding Kandi belt

            Wildlife Warden,  Saleem-ul-Haq, while welcoming the guests, gave an overview of the programme.  Pankaj Chandan, Head, Himalayan Wetlands Conservation Programme, informed the gathering that WWF is working for the sustainable conservation of wetlands through good science and policy & advocacy both nationally and internationally. Dr. Deepika Salathia, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Environmental Sciences, University of Jammu, spoke about the services provided by the twin wetlands of Mansar and Surinsar and their relevance for local communities.

            On this occasion a symposium on the importance of wetlands was also organized in which Ms. Priya Sharma,  Jeevan Lal and Ms. Poonam Sarmal received first second and third prizes respectively.