degradation in sambhar lake

Date: December 16, 2014

Sambhar lake ramsar wetland

Degradation in ‘Sambhar salt Lake (Rajasthan)

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The management of the Sambhar Lake in Rajasthan having a rich natural habitat for birds, is neither under the jurisdiction of the Forests and Wildlife Department of the State nor the Sambhar Salts Limited and Bharat Salts both of which are public sector enterprises and use its water for their commercial requirements. But a latest survey has shown that Sambhar Salt Lake, largest among the 26 Ramsar Sites in India, is fast degrading and losing its birdlife and biodiversity due to drying up conditions.

The random survey of the lake and its adjacent smaller water bodies and surrounding terrestrial habitat recorded 5 species of IUCN Red-listed threatened bird species i.e.(The Red-listed birds are Lesser flamingo, Ferruginous Duck, Spotted Redshank, and Black-tailed Godwit) and over 20,000 species of both water and terrestrial birds.

Ramsar sites:

Ramsar Sites are declared as per the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, an inter-governmental treaty that provides the framework for national and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. The Ramsar Convention (formally, the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, especially as Waterfowl Habitat) is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilization of wetlands, recognizing the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value.It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran, where the Convention was signed in 1971 and came into force on December 21, 1975. These sites are declared as per the recommendation of the Environment Ministry of the respective countries.

The country with the highest number of Sites is the United Kingdom at 170 and the country with the greatest area of listed wetlands is Bolivia.
Wet lands:
The Ramsar definition of wetlands is fairly wide, including “areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters” as well as fish ponds, rice paddies and salt pans.
Presently there are 168 contracting parties, up from 21 initial signatory nations in 1971. The state parties meet every three years as the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP).
Major obligations of countries which are party to the Convention are:

Designate wetlands for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance.
Promote, as far as possible, the wise use of wetlands in their territory.
Promote international cooperation especially with regard to transboundary wetlands, shared water systems, and shared species.
Create wetland reserves.
Montreux Record:

Montreux Record under the Convention is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.
It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List. The Montreux Record was established by Recommendation of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (1990). Sites may be added to and removed from the Record only with the approval of the Contracting Parties in which they lie.
There are 26 Ramsar sites in India.