On November 15, 2020 Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) announced that Sur Sarovar also known as Keetham Lake in Agra, Uttar Pradesh and Lonar Lake in Maharashtra, the only crater lake of Country has been added to the ‘Ramsar Sites’. These 2 wetlands have been included in the ‘List of Wetlands of International Importance’ established by Article 2.1 of the convention.
Points to be Noted
- Sur Sarovar is the 2440th site of Ramsar and Lonar lake, the 2441st site.
- Sur Sarovar and Lonar lake are the 40th and 41st Ramsar Sites in India respectively.
- With the inclusion of these 2 wetlands, the total number of Ramsar Sites in India is 41, the highest in South Asia.
About Sur Sarovar
i.Sur Sarovar, which covers 431 hectares of area, is a human-made reservoir.
ii.Originally it was created to supply water to Agra in summer, the wetland soon became an important and rich ecosystem.
iii.It provides shelter to resident and migratory birds, and over 60 species of fish.
The threatened species include the vulnerable greater spotted eagle (Clanga clanga), sarus crane (Grus antigone) and catfish Wallago attu.
iv.It is vital for the bird species that migrate on the Central Asian flyway. Annually more than 30,000 waterbirds visit the reservoir.
v.More than 1% the South Asian regional population of the greylag goose (Anser anser) is present
About Lonar Lake
i.Lonar Lake covers 427 hectares of area in Buldhana district in the state of Maharashtra.
ii.It is formed by a meteorite impact onto the basalt bedrock. It includes lakes and escarpments, which form the crater walls, and forested zones. It is high in salinity and alkalinity.
iii.Specialized micro-organisms like anaerobes, cyanobacteria and phytoplankton survive in this environment.
iv.It inhabits 160 species of birds including the vulnerable Asian woollyneck (Ciconia episcopus) , 46 species of reptiles, and 12 species of mammals including the iconic grey wolf (Canis lupus).
Both the sites are threatened by household sewage and urban wastewater and by unsustainable tourism.
Other Wetlands in India Designated as the site of international importance
i.Recently, 2 Wetlands were designated as Ramsar Site, namely, Kabartal Wetland also known as Kanwar Jheel in Begusarai, Bihar(first such wetland in Bihar) Asan Conservation Reserve(ACR) in Dehradun( first such wetland from Uttarakhand)
ii.In January 2020, 10 wetlands were designated as Ramsar sites, namely:
Punjab’s Keshopur-Miani and Beas Conservation Reserve;UP’s Nawabganj, Parvati Agra, Saman, Samaspur, Sandi and SarsaiNawar
Maharashtra’s Nandur Madhameshwar (1st Ramsar site of Maharashtra).
iii.Other Ramsar sites in India include Chilika Lake in Odisha, Keoladeo National Park in Rajasthan, Harike Lake in Punjab, Loktak Lake in Manipur and Wular Lake in Jammu and Kashmir.
About Ramsar Convention or Ramsar Sites – Click here
Recent Related News:
October 29, 2020, International Coordinating Council (ICC) of UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Man and the Biosphere (MAB) programme included 3 sites to the list of UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves. They are Panna Biosphere Reserve (Madhya Pradesh) in India, Fuvahmulah Biosphere Reserve (Maldives) and Addu Atoll Biosphere Reserve (Maldives).
Prakash Javadekar– Rajya Sabha, Maharashtra