World Wetlands Day 2013

RCE Srinagar in collaboration and cooperation with Centre for Environment Education (CEE Himalaya) and Aagaas Federation organized World Wetlands Day 2013 exhibition and orientation workshop on the importance of wetlands in environmental ecosystem on Saturday 2 Feb 2013 at D.A.V Inter college , Karanpur, District - Dehradun , Uttarakhand.Every year, World Wetlands Day is celebrated the world over to mark the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands, called the Ramsar Convention, on February 2, 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar. Actions aimed at raising public awareness of wetland values and benefits in general, and the Ramsar Convention in particular have been taken since 1997 by government agencies, NGOs, and groups of citizens at all levels of the community. 

This year, highlighting the theme of “Water Takes Care of Wetlands”, CEE Himalaya and Aagaas organized an essay writing, drawing and slogan writing competition for children from 15 Dehradun-based schools. Following this, the children were encouraged to paint their thoughts, views and opinions on white banners, which were displayed later in the programme in the form of an on the spot exhibition.
The aim of the programme was to sensitize students and teachers about the need and importance of saving wetlands and its conservation. Around 15 schools 150 students, 15 Volunteers and Guests of Different Colleges and 20 teachers participated in the different activitiies.

In the beginning of the program Mr. J.P. Maithani of AAGAAS FEDERATION provided an orientation to the children about the World Wetland Day theme and elaborated the wetlands by providing the examples of a few of the wetlands in Uttarakhand and Dehradun. He also informed the participants about the Ramsar Convention of 1971. Mr. Maithani also elaborated the role of wetlands in the life cycle of migratory birds and water spring recharge in the mountain ecosystem.

Soon after the orientation Riyaz Ahmad Mir from CEE Himalaya welcomed guests and participants and also threw light on the topic of wetlands, as he also said that why we are celebrating the world wet land day. He also told the importance of the wetlands in the area as they provide fresh water to the birds and livelihood support to the people living near the wetland shores. He reminded participants that they were all responsible citizens and should look after the health of the wetlands; as he said, “healthy wetlands healthy people”.

From ARC NGO, Mr. Prateek Panwar, spoke about the significance of the theme considering that Uttarakhand is a popular tourist destination and how a more ‘responsible’ kind of tourism can make all the difference. He elucidated the conservation work being done under the programme and how bird migration depends on the good health of these wetlands. He also told everybody to take on the responsibility of protecting their wetlands, in order to secure water and other natural resources for future generations. Wetlands provide important hydrological functions such as groundwater recharge, water quality improvement and flood alleviation.

Mr. Panwar said the health of wetlands depends on the quality and quantity of water that reaches them. To secure their conservation and wise use it is essential that they are managed in the wider context of catchment-scale water resource management. He also said that around 140 varieties of migratory birds have arrived at the lake and the authorities are keen to develop the lake as a hub for tourists. Varieties of migratory birds flock in during the winters. Around 140 varieties of wetland birds are found here. Mainly found birds are Pochard, Northern Shoveler and varieties of ducks. As these are foreign birds, so we welcome them during the winter season. We will have to see as to how we can develop this area as a bird watching or tourism spot. Birds like Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, Ruddy Shelduck, Red-Crested Pochard, Common Mergansar, Black Stork, Purple Heron and Indian Cormorant are some of the migratory birds that flock to the lake. He told the Students about these birds, that how important these birds are and we have to save their residing places. The relationship of birds with these lakes is whenever the temperature drops in the cold regions; these birds migrate to marshlands in India and settle here because they find optimum temperature here. So they settle down here for 5-6 months and then again they go back to their original homes.

Dr Shail Kulshreshta Professor of Chemistry also addressed the students on this occasion that wetlands are important to us but the plants which are grown in side the water they have very significant value for the wetlands and also they are some medicinal plants which are playing very vital role in the life of the human actitivities. She also said that the High Altitude Wetlands (HAWs), as the name suggests, are water bodies like lakes, ponds and rivers, found at altitudes higher than 3,000 meters above sea level, often fed by glaciers or snow from the surrounding mountains. The HAWs found in the Indian Himalayas are of great importance to the people living in this region because they provide livelihood and are considered sacred. Pasturelands fringing the wetlands are used for grazing livestock, and have also been identified as the home of several rare endemic species of birds, medicinal plants and mammals. In addition, these Himalayan wetlands play an important role in the hydrological regime of mighty rivers like the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Indus and act as a buffer between glacial melt waters and outflows to smaller rivers and streams. Any change to the dynamics of these wetlands, can have a knock-on effect that could reach all the way downstream impacting fish populations, agriculture, river infrastructure, flood cycles and communities in those river basins. It is therefore vital that these HAWs be conserved to secure a steady supply of water to the entire region and to safeguard communities and biodiversity that depend on these freshwater sources.

Mr. Jaiprakash Panwar of Channel Mountain elaborated the importance of high altitide lakes and their role in underground water and spring recharge.He said that the Wetland are the Lungs of the Mountain eacosystem.

Yagya Bhusahn Sharma said the we should keep avoiding the damage of the wetlands around our fields and canal systems in Doon Valle and polythene should be banned permanantely in the all touris desination of the Himlayas.


During the proagramme three competitions were held on slogan writing, drawing and essay writing. The winners in each category were as follows

Essay Writing

Ist Prize: - Rajvinder Kour, Class:-12th School: - Laxman Bhartiya Intercollege
2nd Prize: - Yasmeen Class:-11th School: - Mangla Devi Intercollege
3rd prize: - Aman Kumar Class:-8th (A) School: - Laxman Bhartiya Intercollege

Slogan Writing

Ist Prize: - Arun MamGain, Class:-7th School:-SGRR EC Road
2nd Prize: - Aradhana Class:-8th School: - Ferger Junior High School
3rd prize: - Kavita Araya Class:-8th School: - Ferger Junior High School


Ist Prize: - Garima Deman, Class:-11th School:-GIC Nala Pani
2nd Prize: - Pooja Rawat Class:-8th School:-GIC Nala Pani
3rd prize:-Yogesh chauhan Class:-11th School: - Gandhi Intercollege