Environmental activists of Andhra Pradesh have picked the United Nation’s World Water Day to voice their anxiety about destruction of wetlands in the State in the name of development.
Environmental activist Pathanjali Sastry, who filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Andhra Government’s efforts to reduce the size of Kolleru Wildlife Sanctuary, and with it the size of the lake, said that wetlands were under threat.
Krishna district stands first with 19 per cent of it covered in wetlands. Nellore stands second with 16.47 per cent, West and East Godavari districts stand third and fourth with 11.81 per cent and 9.17 per cent of respective coverage.
Wetlands are known to filter harmful substances like pesticides and animal waste discharged from farms. If left in the water bodies, these substances have a negative impact on wildlife and humans that depend on them. These substances also enter the groundwater, which was consumed only by humans.
Wetlands also reduce the amount of these harmful substances that enter a stream, river, pond, or lake by acting like a strainer that filters out the bad stuff. When these substances enter a wetland, before reaching the water body, wetland plants will take many of the harmful substances into their roots and change the harmful substances into less harmful ones before they are released to the water body.According to the Andhra Pradesh Wetland Atlas, Nellore district comprises 2,998 wetlands and they account for an area of 2,15,404 ha. Coastal wetlands in the district form about 52 per cent dominated by lagoons (47,407 ha) and aquaculture ponds (43,195 ha). Reservoirs (45,715 ha) ranked first in inland wetlands, constituting about 21 per cent of wetland extent followed by Tanks/Ponds (27,673 ha) and River/Stream (26,826 ha).
Krishna district comprises 1,764 wetlands that account for an area of 1,65,818 ha. Coastal wetlands form about 73 per cent dominated by aquaculture ponds (88,939 ha) and mangroves (14,794). River/Stream (27,379) ranked first in inland wetlands, constituting about 17 per cent of wetland extent followed by Tanks/Ponds (6312 ha) and Lake/Ponds (6,145 ha).
The West Godavari district comprises 1,743 wetlands and the wetlands account for an area of 91,447 hectares. Lake/Ponds (12,208 ha.) ranked first constituting about 13 per cent of wetland extent followed by River/Stream (9329 ha), Reservoir/Barrages (3,420 ha) and Tanks/Ponds (3,191 ha). Coastal wetlands form about 68 per cent dominated by aquaculture ponds (58,845 ha).
The and East Godavari district comprises 1,972 wetlands and they account for an area of 99, 057 hectares. River/Stream (36135 ha) ranked first constituting about 36 per cent of wetland extent followed by Reservoir/Barrages (10,042 ha) and Tanks/Ponds (4244 ha). Coastal wetlands form about 48 per cent dominated by Mangroves (18,638 ha) and aquaculture ponds (18,440 ha).
These four districts were so rich in wetlands seen by environmentalists as the “lungs and kidneys” of nature. But unfortunately both the Central and State Government were trying to destroy them in the name of development.
Both Central and State governments are trying to destroy them in the name of development