New wetland conservation rules notified

PHOTO CAPTIONS: Such encroachments into wetlands like the Ashtamudi Lake have become a serious offence under the Wetland Conservation Rules 2017.. Photo C. Suresh Kumar..(em)  

The Centre on September 26 notified a new set of rules under the head Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017 replacing the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010.

One of the outstanding rules of the notification is that encroachments on wetlands stand banned. The rules prohibit solid waste dumping, discharge of untreated waste and effluents from industries, cities, towns, villages, and other human settlements into wetlands.

The new notification is expected to appreciably benefit the State government’s Haritha Keralam Mission to conserve and protect wetlands. There is considerable scope for the new rules to complement the Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation Act, 2003, say environmentalists.

Environmentalists who expressed fears that the provisions in the draft rules notified in 2016 were detrimental to wetland conservation now felt that the newly notified rules with substantial corrections following the adoption of suggestions and objections from experts could come to the rescue of wetlands “though we are not fully happy”.

The draft rules had largely sought to dilute the Centre’s onus for wetland conservation and pass that responsibility to the State governments.

The environmentalists had also felt that the draft had watered down priority to wetland conservation under the label of balancing development and environmental concerns.

The Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP) was in the forefront in expressing reservations over the draft proposals and the KSSP had submitted a set of 14 objections with suggestions “for correcting the anomalies”.

KSSP leaders told The Hindu that ten suggestions were adopted by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests to revise the draft for the final notification.

An integrated management plan for each wetland in the new notification was a suggestion placed by the KSSP.

The KSSP leaders said the draft rules showed only three restrictions to conserve wetlands but in the final notification more restrictions had been added as per the suggestions placed by the KSSP.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 10:01:09 PM |

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