The state of India’s urban wetlands and why they need to be protected urgently
The ecosystem services of wetlands need to be highlighted in our development policies, urban planning and climate change mitigation.
Nearly 30 per cent of the natural wetlands in India have been lost in the last three decades mainly to illegal construction, unsustainable urbanisation, agricultural expansion and pollution, according to estimates by Wetlands International South Asia.
Chennai lost 90 per cent of its wetlands to unplanned urbanisation, leaving the city to grapple with issues of water security and degraded environment. Vadodara lost 30.5 per cent of its wetlands between 2005 and 2018. Hyderabad lost 55 per cent of its wetlands to inefficient waste management, rising pollution and unchecked urban development.
Mumbai lost 71 per cent, Ahmedabad 57 per cent, Bengaluru 56 per cent, Pune 37 per cen and Delhi-National Capital Region lost 38 per cent wetlands mainly to construction and eutrophication from pollution.
In addition to urbanisation needs, lack of awareness and knowledge on wetlands and their ecosystem services can be blamed for this widespread loss.