Regional

‘Declining wetlands behind climate change in Mnp’

Correspondent IMPHAL, Feb 2 | Publish Date: 2/2/2020 12:28:12 PM IST

The drastic climate change experienced in Manipur is closely related to sharp decline in  areas covered by wetlands, according to environmentalists who called for a concerted efforts to conserve existing wetlands in the state on the occasion of World Wetlands Day 2020.

Wetlands are fast diminishing in the state. Out of 155 lakes which was said to exist in Manipur till around 50 years ago, 136 have dried up and are now extinct. 

According to a report of the environment and ecological wing of state forest department, the following lakes have been identified as under threat:  Pumlen (Khoidum), Ekop (Kharung), Loushi, Waithou (Punnem), Aongbeekhong, Ushoipokpi, Sana, Utra, Tankha, Kharam, Lamphel, Jailet, Jeimeng and Loktak.

Deputy director of state directorate of environment Th Bhogen said that despite government efforts to protect and conserve the wetlands, the number of lakes in the state were fast drying up.

He related the drastic climatic changes witnessed in the state to the ever diminishing wetlands that directly impact biodiversity and ecosystem in the state.

The deputy director who spoke on the sideline of a celebration function of the World Wetland Day in Imphal stressed on the need to create awareness, conservation of wetlands for protecting the rich biodiversity and environment in the state.

The environment and ecological wing under state forest department had already identified seven severely deteriorated natural lakes and steps have been taken up to develop on war footing as parts of the state government’s effort to combat climate change.

The identified natural lakes were Waithoupat, Pumlenpat and Ikopat in Thoubal district, Utrapat in Bishnupur district, Yaralpat in Imphal East district, Zeilad in Tamenglong district and Khayang Kachongpung in Ukhrul district.

The seven natural lakes were among 17 existing natural lakes on the verge of extinction.

According to a survey conducted by the Remote Sensing Application Centre of Manipur, there are 17 lakes and two ox-bow lakes in the state. 

Largest number lakes are in Imphal and Thoubal districts. However there are also a number of smaller lakes which are termed as kom (pits). 

About 134 waterlogged marshy and swampy wetlands are in different districts. These areas are low lying, situated either in the peripheral area or vicinity of the lakes. 

Highest numbers of water logged areas are recorded in Imphal valley (69), followed by Thoubal (40) and Bishnupur district (21). There are two man-made reservoirs;one each in Senapati and Tamenglong districts. State forest and environment minister Th Shyamkumar had recently said that the state government after taking stock of the deteriorating condition of natural lakes across the state has decided to take up works to protect the lakes.

On the other hand, recalling the importance of the wetlands in sustaining the biodiversity, Centre for Research and Advocacy (CRA) Manipur has urged Manipur government to recognise the unique role of wetlands and ensure its protection with the rightful involvement of indigenous communities in wetlands management.

In a release, CRA Sanaton Laishram reminded the importance of wetlands in sustaining the biodiversity and the livelihood of communities.

He pointed out the rapid degradation of the wetlands in Manipur due to rapid urbanization, reclamation for agriculture, impacts of climate change and subjection of wetlands to unsustainable development. 

 

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