The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on 14 December 2016 notified the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2016.
These rules replace the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010 and seek to address the issues related to the conservation and development of wetlands in a comprehensive manner.
Highlights of Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2016
• The wetlands shall be conserved and managed in accordance with the principle of ‘wise use’ for maintaining their ecological integrity.
• Wise use of wetlands means preserving the ecological character of wetlands through the implementation of ecosystem approaches.
• However, the strategies adopted to preserve wetlands should be within the context of sustainable development.
• The rules prohibit any diversion or impediment to natural water inflows and outflows of the wetland.
• Activities having or likely to have an adverse impact on the ecological character of the wetland are also prohibited.
• Wetland Authority will be set up by the State Governments or UTs to deal with wetland conservation, regulation and management.
• In a state, the authority will be headed by the respective Chief Minister.
• For the purpose of managing wetlands having multiple issues, the concerned State Government or UT Administration may, if required, constitute a specific Wetland Authority.
• Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of 1971 defines wetlands as - “Areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres.”
• In simple terms, a wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally. This definition brings ponds, lakes, estuaries, reservoirs, creeks, mangroves and many more water bodies under the ambit of wetlands.
• It is estimated that India has about 757.06 thousand wetlands with a total wetland area of 15.3 m ha or 4.7 percent of the geographical area.
When: 14 December 2016