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Improved focus on protecting wetlands in India February 18,2020   |  Source: Deccan Herald

The addition of 10 more wetlands in India to sites protected under the Ramsar convention should help to focus more attention on the ecological and economic importance of water bodies. The 10 new ones are in Maharashtra, Punjab and UP, and they take the number of protected sites to 37 across the country. Ramsar Convention is an international agreement. Wetlands around the world are identified under it for their biological diversity and role in sustaining life, and strict rules and guidelines are issued for their upkeep and management. It enables countries to preserve and maintain their wetlands through efforts at national and local levels and with international co-operation. The importance of wetlands cannot be exaggerated when the environment all over the world is under severe stress and climate change is an increasingly real threat. They provide resources and services relating to many areas like food, groundwater recharge, flood moderation and climate control. There are over 7.5 lakh wetlands in the country covering about 15 million hectares and they account for about 5% of the geographical area. The Ramsar sites cover an area of about one million hectares.

The Central government, making the announcement about the addition of the new Ramsar sites, has said that it is a

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