‘Wetlands Take Care of Water’ isslogan for World Wetlands Day

Be it by water pollution, indiscriminate construction, loss of vegetation, or attack of invasive species, wetlands are one of the most threatened of all ecosystems in the country, say different environmental agencies.

Equal to their ecological significance is their implications to the drinking water availability in any region. And that makes the conservation of wetlands all the more important and indispensable.

The resolve of the administration is just as important as the awareness of the public in ensuring the protection of wetlands we have, said E. Pradeep Kumar, Chief Conservator of Forests, Department of Social Forestry, which, in association with the Centre for Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development (C-STED) is organising a discussion and seminar on the conservation of wetlands on Saturday in connection with World Wetlands Day at Sarovaram Biopark here.

Mr. Pradeep Kumar said ensuring the participation of people, especially the local residents, in the conservation of wetland was as important as sensitising the general public about the conservational needs. The Social Forestry Department had embarked on a project for a community-based participatory model for the conservation of natural resources. “The seminar is part of the project,” he added. “Constituting wetland conservation committees with local participation, surveying of wetlands, and conducting awareness programmes are all part of the project,” he said.

“Wetlands Take Care of Water” is the slogan of the World Wetlands Days this year. “It holds a special significance for Kozhikode city, where the large stretch of Kottooli Wetlands has a major role in sustaining the water-levels in the domestic wells in the city, says K.V. Muhammed Kunjhi, director of C-STED, which offers technical support for community participation in the initiative.

“We will look in into the possibilities, including giving training to the local residents in enterprises such as fish farming that can indirectly ensure the protection of the wetlands,” said Dr. Muhammed Kunhi. All stakeholders, including the local residents, environmentalists, and people’s representatives could voice their opinions in the seminar, he said.

A. Pradeepkumar, MLA, who had taken up the cause of the Kottooli wetlands with the successive governments, said a government takeover was the only permanent solution for the conservation of the wetland. “Any other initiatives will only dilute and divert the attention from the demand,” Mr. Pradeepkumar said. Though the Kottooli wetlands, spans an area of over 250 acres, only around 100 acres is under the possession of the government and the rest is owned by private parties.

KPCC general secretary P.M. Suresh Babu, a resident of Kottooli, shares Mr. Pradeepkumar’s views. “But that doesn’t means that we should not tap other possibilities as well to protect it,” he said.