The land we took for granted - Wet or Waste?

Nature and the lives in it have been a part of human life since the beginning but in our recent past, our busy lives have made us slowly drift away from nature. If only we looked closely we would be able to see that nature is all around us. To focus on the nature around us, this article will be detailing a specific part of nature in this city -The Wetlands.

A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently or seasonally, where oxygen-free processes prevail. Mangroves are also a part of the wetland ecosystem. On February 3rd 1971, The Ramsar (Iranian town of Ramsar, nestling between the Alborz mountains and the Caspian coast) Convention came into existence which seeked to conserve wetlands, 18 nations worldwide signed the treaty. The convention lists down the areas defined as wetlands, it's importance and significance for conservation and the laws that protect it.

India is also one of the nations to sign the treaty. Our city, Mumbai has a generous amount of wetlands to its name. The Thane Creek is found to be the largest mangrove in Asia. The wetlands in Mumbai give rise to the city's rich biodiversity.

The wetlands are a home to various birds like flamingos, strokes, herons, and other waders. A Variety species of water snakes, crabs , fishes also find their home in these marshy lands. The plants in these areas have special adaptation to survive in semi saline, murky conditions.

These lands are of great importance to the city. It harbours plants which have medicinal properties, the fishes and other invertebrates are a source of income of the people in the city. The mangrove plants have an absorbing capacity for toxic substances and heavy metals in the water. They act as a wind cutter to the strong storm winds approaching towards the city. It forms a barrier to floods in case of rise in the water level.

We, the city dwellers forget of such a beauty and turn them into a dumping land or turn such lands for development or reforest it in the name of saving nature as per our convenience leading to loss of such ecosystem and the lives thriving along with it .

Mumbai is greatly equipped with these wetlands and the biodiversity that is thriving within it, all it needs is conservation and preservation.

Monalisa Mukherjee

Programme Assistant