Home Natural Resource Management India’s wetland atlas omits East Kolkata wetlands

India’s wetland atlas omits East Kolkata wetlands

Kolkata, India: India’s East Kolkata Wetlands (EKW), spread over 12,500 hectare on the eastern fringes of the city, has been omitted from the latest National Wetland Atlas, claimed East Kolkata Wetland Management Authority (EKWMA) chief technical officer Nitai Kundu. The Atlas has been prepared by Ahmedabad-based Space Application Centre (SAC), a part of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). 
One of only 25 protected Ramsar sites in the country (India is a signatory to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands), the EKW’s resource recovery system, which is developed by local people using waste water from the city, is the largest and the only one of its kind in the world. It also helps in water treatment. The Ramsar listing makes EKW a wetland of international importance. 
Yet, when the satellite images-based National Wetland Atlas was prepared by SAC to enable Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) evolve a comprehensive wetland conservation strategy, EKW disappeared from the map.
“In any case, the EKW is not important as natural wetland. It is an artificial wetland whose importance stems from the unique way it is used by 254 sewagefed fisheries,” Kundu said. 
Incidentally, the fame of EKW and its recognition as a Ramsar site is due to its status as the world’s largest resource recycling ecosystem fully managed by wetland communities. EKW recycles around 600 million litre of waste water on a daily basis. Significantly, it is done for free while it would have cost the city INR 500 per annum if it were to use modern sewage treatment systems. 
MoEF director (wetlands) S Kaul admitted that the omission was embarrassing and said the error would be corrected in the online version. 
Source: TOI