The Maharashtra Government has urged the Centre to accord the ''Ramsar'' status to the Thane Creek area. The Thane Creek Flamingo Reserve Forest is situated in a 16.905 sq km area. The state government has sent the proposal to the Centre which was prepared by the State Mangrove Cell after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's approval.
The state government hopes once “Ramsar” status is granted, it will attract tourists from the country and abroad for bird watching and this, in turn, will promote the environment and tourism besides creating job opportunities for the local people. In addition, this will convey the importance of the swampy areas to the people and accelerate its protection and conservation activities besides taking it on the global tourist map, the Chief Minister said.
The Chief Minister’s Office in a statement said at the fourth meeting of the State Mangrove Authority held on December 9, 2021, chaired by State Environment Minister Aditya Thackeray, this proposal was cleared following which it was sent to the Chief Minister for his approval. Environmentally important areas at the international level are known as “Ramsar” areas.
‘’In the Thane Creek area along with Flamingos migrating from abroad the other bird species are also found. That accords special importance to this mangrove area from a global point of view. An approximate 65 sq. km area of Thane Creek is proposed to be identified as Ramsar area of which 17 sq km is the area of the reserved forest. The remaining 48 sq. km area is notified as an environmentally sensitive area in October 2021. This will help preserve the biodiversity of this area with more ease,’’ said CMO. Further, it would be also easy to protect and conserve the flamingos and other bird species in this area.
“Ramsar’ places in Maharashtra
The “Nandur Madhmeshwar” reserved forest in Nasik district has been granted the “Ramsar” Status at the January 2020 International Mangrove Ramsar conference. This is the first “Ramsar” place in Maharashtra. Lonar in Buldana district is another ‘Ramsar’ place declared in November 2020. If granted this status Thane Creek premise will be the third such Ramsar area in the state.
What is Ramsar Status
The first “Ramsar Conference” was held at Ramsar city in Iran in 1971. A number of decisions regarding conservation and preservation of global mangrove areas and their environment complementary uses were taken in this conference. The action plan for this was also prepared. According to this action plan, each participating country was urged to identify globally important mangrove areas and declare them as “Ramsar” places. Lakes, rivers, ponds, swamps, creeks, seashores, and paddy fields are included in mangrove areas.
244 ‘Ramsar’ places in the world
India signed the agreement in 1982 and took steps to protect and conserve the mangroves. At present, there are 244 global mangroves that have been accorded the “Ramsar” status. They include 49 such mangroves in India too.