Wetlands in Coimbatore, which are over 800 years old and have been the integral part of the local culture and heritage, are crying for immediate attention.

There is a need to see the history, introspect the misuse and abuses that they go through now, plan for their revival and ensure their maintenance, said Mohammed Saleem, president of Environment Conservation Group and vice-president of Save Coimbatore Wetlands.

In view of World Wetlands Day on February 2, Mr.Saleem said that after being in use for hundreds of years for agriculture and flood mitigation, these wetlands were in a bad shape today because of misuse and lack of maintenance.

In addition to providing rich dividends to humanity, these wetlands also supported wildlife and migratory birds.

Of late, the wetlands were turning into dumping yard. Lakes, tanks and ponds were the most abused systems.

Coimbatore was a blessed place to have eight lakes within the urban limits.

“In our greed for development we have cut most of our avenue trees, polluted our streams and filled our valuable wetlands with debris to meet the needs of the moment, with no thought about tomorrow,” Mr. Saleem added.

According to Mr.Saleem, to conserve wetlands, water should be treated using eco-friendly technology before being let into water bodies, encroachments in and around the wetlands should be removed, bund strengthening and de-silting should be undertaken with planting of native trees, the de-silted soil could be used to create small islands inside the wetlands with suitable tree saplings for foraging and nesting of water birds and small animals, and formation of local committees to manage the wetlands.