India: The National Wetland Atlas, prepared by the Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre (SAC) of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has classified Puducherry and Tamil Nadu as wetland-rich States as they have 12.88 per cent and 6.92 per cent of geographic area under wetlands respectively. Man-made water bodies comprise more than 35 percent of the wetlands cover in Tamil Nadu.
Lakshadweep leads with 96.12 per cent of its geographic area under wetlands, followed by Andaman & Nicobar Islands (18.52 percent), Daman & Diu (18.46 percent) and Gujarat (17.56 percent).
Meanwhile, Orissa Space Application Centre (ORSAC) in collaboration with the Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre, Indian Space Research Organisation, developed Orissa Wetland Atlas. According to the atlas, Orissa is a wetland-rich state in India with a total of 78,440 wetlands. Of this, manmade wetlands comprise nearly 32 percent of the area and inland natural wetlands account for 34 percent area. The atlas shows wetlands in different categories – state, district-wise and toposheet-wise. Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Orissa State, released the atlas.
Patnaik said, “The wetland will be helpful in maintaining a balance of the ecosystem and for sustainable growth of the environment. It will also help policy makers for planning and taking decisions of different developmental projects.”
Chief executive officer of Orissa Space Application Centre (ORSAC), A K Mohapatra said, “The very existence of wetlands is under threat due to development activities and the pressure of a growing population. The aim of the atlas is to give a boost to proper management and conservation of wetlands for irrigation, aquaculture, industrial use, eco tourism and so on.”
The total coverage of wetlands has been estimated at 6, 90,904 hectares across the state with inland wetlands constituting about 66 percent. Similarly, there are 24 percent of coastal wetlands in the state of which natural wetlands account for about 20 percent while another 3 percent is man-made.
The mapping in the Orissa State was carried out under the National Wetland Inventory and Assessment Project of the ministry of environment and forests. Area estimates of various wetlands were carried out using GIS layers of wetland boundary, water-spread, aquatic vegetation and turbidity. The wetland mapping was done on a scale of 1:50,000 by analysing digital Indian Remote Sensing satellite data of post- and pre-monsoon seasons (2006-07).
Source: The Hindu & TOI