The Nilgiris is a natural heritage and many of its features like its wetlands are unique. This was underscored at a function organised by the Public Awareness Association of Udhagamandalam and the Gudalur Consumer, Human Resource and Environment Protection Society at the

Arboretum (tree garden) here on Wednesday in connection with the observance of World Wetlands Day.

Addressing the gathering which included many school students, the Field Director, Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Rajiv K. Srivastava pointed out that wetlands or marshy areas played a crucial role in preventing pollution and landslides. Stating that they should be protected at all costs, he said that in the Mukurthi National Park alone they extended over about 200 hectares. If they were to dry up, not only humans but also many varieties of aquatic birds and animals would be affected.

Stating that the indiscriminate use of plastic items should be avoided, he urged the people to live in harmony with nature.

The Field Officer, CPR Environmental Education Centre M. Kumaravelu said that the wetlands reduced the impact of natural calamities.

The Secretary, Public Awareness Association of Udhagamandalam G. Janardhanan said many of the wetlands in and around Ooty are on the verge becoming dry.

The Managing Trustee, Nilgiris Environment and Cultural Service Trust(NEST) V. Sivadass and Sivasubramaniam of the Gudalur Consumer, Human Resource and Environment Protection Society also spoke.

The children took a pledge to protect the wetlands.

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