ONGC and UNESCO join hands to get Chilika Lake heritage site tag

Jun 22, 2017 15:10 IST

Chilika LakeA joint team of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in June 2017 carried out a preliminary survey for the conservation of Chilika Lake.

The survey has been done to help India’s largest coastal lagoon secure the world heritage site tag.

In order to get world heritage site recognition, the lake should have outstanding global value in terms of biodiversity and eco-system.

Key highlights

During the team’s visit to the periphery areas of the lake, they interacted with various stakeholders in the village and local officials, where certain focal areas were identified to begin with, so that the efforts could finally lead to the declaration of Chilika Lake as a heritage site.

The ONGC-UNESCO made efforts for the comprehensive development of the eco-system of the lake, particularly the wetlands of Mangalajodi, which is intrinsically linked to the conservation of migratory and endemic birds.

A comprehensive dossier with a detailed development plan of the ecosystem by involving various central and state government ministries would be prepared.

ONGC would also carry out a comprehensive conservation and development plan in and around the lake area.

The UNESCO had also proposed to set up a world class conservation centre with a climate change observatory with state-of-the-art data and monitoring facilities.

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About Chilika Lake

Chilika lake is a brackish water lagoon.

It is spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha state on the east coast of India.

The lake covers an area of over 1100 km per square.

It is the largest coastal lagoon in India and the second largest lagoon in the world. The New Caledonian barrier reef in New Caledonia is the largest lagoon in the world.

It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent.

The lake is home to a number of threatened species of plants and animals.

The lake sustains more than 150000 fisher–folk living in 132 villages on the shore and islands.

In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

The highly productive chilika lagoon eco-system with its rich fishery resources sustains the livelihood for many fisher men who live in and near the Lagoon.

Microalgae, marine seaweeds, sea grasses, fishes and crabs also flourish in the brackish water of the Chilika Lagoon.

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