Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday underlined that the number of Ramsar sites in the country has increased to 75, which is close to thrice of what India had in 2014.
Addressing the 97th edition of the Mann Ki Baat programme on Sunday, PM Modi said that wetlands in any country have to fulfil certain criteria, then only they can be declared as Ramsar sites.
He said that the number of Ramsar sites in the country has increased to 75 which was earlier only 26 till 2014.
"Wetlands may be there in any country, but they have to fulfil many criteria, then only they can be declared as Ramsar Sites. Now the total number of Ramsar Sites in our country has increased to 75, whereas, before 2014 there were only 26 Ramsar Sites in the country," PM Modi said.
Wetlands are the places where water remains accumulated throughout the year on marshy soil-like land.
"We have been continuously talking about India's concrete efforts in the direction of climate change and conservation of biodiversity. A few days later, on February 2, it is World Wetlands Day. They are very important for the existence of our earth because many birds and animals are dependent on them for their survival," PM Modi said.
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He said that most of the world's Ramsar sites have a unique cultural heritage.
Ramsar Sites are wetlands of international importance designated under the criteria of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands for containing representative, rare or unique wetland types or for their importance in conserving biological diversity.
PM Modi said that the increased number of Ramsar sites is also a tribute to the country's age-old culture and tradition of living in harmony with nature. He cited the example of the culture of Manipur, which has a deep connection with Loktak and the sacred lake Renuka. He also mentioned Chilika Lake in Odisha which is known for sheltering more than 40 Water Bird Species.
"Kaibul-Lamjaa, Loktak is considered to be the only natural habitat of the Swamp Deer. Similarly, Sambhar is also related to Shakambhari Devi, an incarnation of Maa Durga," he added.
He further lauded the people involved in the conservation of biodiversity and said that the expansion of wetlands could only happen because of the people living around these Ramsar sites.
Vedanthangal of Tamil Nadu was declared a Ramsar Site in 2022. The entire credit for preserving the bird population here goes to the farmers in the neighbourhood, the PM said, adding the Panjath Nag community in Kashmir spends a day, especially cleaning the village spring during the Annual Fruit Blossom festival.
Most of the Words Ramsar Sites also have a Unique cultural heritage, he said.
"Along with enriching Biodiversity, they also ensure Flood control and Ground Water Recharge. Many of you must be knowing that Ramsar Sites are such wetlands which are of international importance...Ramsar Sites should have 20,000 or more water birds. It is important to have a large number of local fish species," the Prime Minister added.
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