Imphal, February 3, 2018 (DIPR): As part of World Wetlands Day 2018 observance under the theme ‘Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future’, a discussion programme was convened yesterday at State Information Centre, Palace Compound, Imphal. The observation was jointly organised by Department of Environment, Government of Manipur and Editors’ Guild, Manipur, to spread awareness to the general public about the importance of preserving wetlands in urban areas. The Day is observed every year on 2nd February since the adoption of Ramsar Convention in 1971 to help raise public awareness about the importance and value of wetlands.
Speaking as Chief Guest, Shri Meghachandra Kongbam, Director, Information and Public Relations, Government of Manipur, said that the theme is very suitable in view of today’s context. Putting stress on the role of media he said that the media persons have a big role in spreading awareness to the general public in preserving wetlands in the urban areas. Maximum number of the population lives in the cities and by 2050, it will increase to 66 per cent leading to development in urban areas thereby decreasing the wetland areas. Citing the reports of severe air pollution in Delhi, he said the same can also happen in Manipur.
Wetlands were preserved when Manipur was a princely State as there was awareness about the importance of wetlands in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Recognising the importance of wetlands, the Government has allocated 442.24 acres of land in Lamphel area as part of preserving wetlands. He also said that media persons need to carry out more research in this area and write articles, editorials to spread awareness among the people. Media can also give their suggestions to the Government on steps to be taken up to preserve wetlands, he added.
Professor W. Vishwanath of Life Sciences Department, Manipur University speaking as a resource person said that only a small percent of the freshwater is used for human consumption. This small percentage of freshwater is becoming a valuable commodity. Stating that wetlands are a huge reservoir for biodiversity, Professor W. Vishwanath said that urbanization is leading to decrease in wetland areas due to rapid urbanisation. If the wetlands are preserved it can control air pollution, flood and can promote tourism apart from saving the environment.
He further said that preserving wetlands should also be part of school curriculum to make the younger generation aware of the importance of wetlands. Wetlands can promote eco-tourism by setting up recreation spots, organising water bodies sport such as angling. He appealed to the media persons to spread awareness to the general public on the importance of preserving wetlands as freshwater is becoming an important commodity. Media persons from the State, officials of Environment Department and members of Editors’ Guild Manipur took part in the discussion programme.