The National Green Tribunal Friday directed the National Wetlands Committee to compile data about status of compliance of environmental norms in respect of all significant wetlands in the country.
The green panel said the state pollution control boards and State Wetland Authorities in India may give the status of management of wetlands in their areas to the Secretary of the Union Environment Ministry within three months.
“On that basis a joint Committee of the Secretary and Chairman CPCB may give a consolidated report to this Tribunal before the next date by e-mail,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Girl said.
The green panel said that conservation of wetlands in general and Ramsar sites in particular is a significant aspect of protection of environment.
A Ramsar site is a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. The Convention on Wetlands, known as the Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental environmental treaty established in 1971 by UNESCO, which came into force in 1975.
The bench said: “To give effect to the Sustainable Development and Precautionary Principles, which have been held to be part of right to life and are to be statutorily enforced by this Tribunal under Section 20 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, effective action plan and its execution is imperative.”
The NGT said that Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017 contain elaborate provisions for protection of Wetlands and National and State Wetland Authorities have been set up.
“However, the fact remain that the wetlands are facing serious challenge of conservation as shown by the present case and other cases which are the Tribunal dealing with from time to time,” the bench said.
It said that the Secretary of Ministry of Environment and Forests heads the National Wetlands Committee with 18 other Members for integrated management of wetlands, monitoring implementation of the Rules and other allied functions.
In spite of high level authorities in place, there are widespread grievances of failure to manage some of the important wetlands, as in the present case and another matter dealt with today relating to Sambhar Lake in Jaipur, the NGT said.
The tribunal’s direction came while hearing a plea filed by Jammu and Kashmir resident Raja Muzaffar Bhat seeking directions for prevention of unscientific dumping of waste and encroachment of Hokersar Wetland, Wular Lake and Kreentchoo-Chandhara Wetland in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. The applicant also annexed photographs showing unscientific dumping of garbage.