India is a signatory to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which includes in its ambit a wide variety of habitats, such as marshes, swamps, lakes, coastal lagoons, mangroves, peat lands, coral reefs, and numerous man-made wetlands, such as ponds, salt pans, reservoirs, gravel pits, sewage farms, and canals. The Central Government is desirous of mainstreaming full range of wetland biodiversity and ecosystem service values in sectoral development planning and decision making based on integrated management approach. The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on 14 December 2016 notified the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2016.These rules replace the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010 and seek to address the issues related to the conservation and development of wetlands in a comprehensive manner.
Highlights of Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2016:
- The wetlands shall be conserved and managed in accordance with the principle of 'wise use' for maintaining their ecological integrity.
- Wise use of wetlands means preserving the ecological character of wetlands through the implementation of ecosystem approaches.
- However, the strategies adopted to preserve wetlands should be within the context of sustainable development.
- The rules prohibit any diversion or impediment to natural water inflows and outflows of the wetland.
- Activities having or likely to have an adverse impact on the ecological character of the wetland are also prohibited.
- Wetland Authority will be set up by the State Governments or UTs to deal with wetland conservation, regulation and management. In a state, the authority will be headed by the respective Chief Minister.