Tamil Nadu pushes for 'Ramsar' designation for 13 wetlands in state

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government is seeking for the 'Ramsar' tag, a coveted international distinction for environmental conservation, to be awarded to 13 wetlands in the state.

The state administration has already filed the request to the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, according to sources in the Tamil Nadu Environment Department.

The Pallikaranai marshland in Chennai and the Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere reserve in Ramanathapuram are in the advanced stages of getting 'Ramsar' recognition at the 'Ramsar' secretariat in Switzerland, out of the 13 wetlands the state government and the Tamil Nadu Wetland Authority (TNWA) have short-listed. Once it receives recognition, the department has already given the Centre an undertaking that the state will conserve the wetlands using Ramsar standards.

According to a study commissioned by the Tamil Nadu Wetlands Authority, the state has 43,916 wetlands, accounting for 6.9% of the total geographical area of the state, compared to 4.7 percent at the national level.

The state's Environment Department has also stated that even if the wetlands are declared as 'Ramsar' places, it will not have a harmful impact on local communities' customary rights and privileges, and will simply prevent problematic and unsustainable construction.

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