Minister for Environment and Forests Peddireddi Ramachandra Reddy said Andhra Pradesh was home to 30,000 acres of wetlands as per a survey done by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate, and exhorted the AP Wetland Board to take all steps to conserve the rich variety of flora and fauna flourishing in those lands.
Addressing the maiden meeting of the AP Wetland Board at the Secretariat on Wednesday, Mr. Ramachandra Reddy said the wetlands were encroached to some extent by farmers while fish ponds devoured the Kolleru lake from the 5th to 2nd contours.
A committee was being constituted to submit a preliminary report on these encroachments in a couple of months.
A fine balance should be maintained in protecting the fragile ecosystem of wetlands and the livelihood issues of people settled in those areas, he exhorted the officials.
The Minister said an astounding variety of animals and plants could be found in the wetlands in the State which mainly include Kolleru, Nelapattu, Pulicat, Coringa and Telineelapuram. An impressive range of migratory birds were thriving in some of these wetlands.
The Wetland Board should take the support of renowned experts involved in the implementation of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and other acclaimed agencies making pioneering efforts to save diverse habitats in the world, he suggested.
Special Chief Secretary Neerabh Kumar Prasad, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Y. Madhusudhana Reddy and others were present.