Tata Power's Efforts in Conserving the Walwhan Wetlands
Wetlands, the seemingly non-descript ecosystem is teeming with biodiversity and comparable to rainforests and coral reefs in their richness. Providing a haven for an immense variety of species of microbes, plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish and mammals, the wetlands are integral to maintaining many natural cycles and therefore helping fight climate change.
Despite the many benefits that wetlands provide, they continue to be under threat. Development, pollution, and climate change all pose significant challenges to the wetlands, and unless we take action to protect and restore these precious ecosystems, they will continue to decline.
What are wetlands?
Wetlands are areas of land that are saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally. They can be found in various forms, including marshes, swamps, and bogs, and are home to a diverse array of plant and animal species.
Wetlands serve a number of important functions that make them valuable to both the environment and human populations. Firstly, they act as natural water filters, removing excess nutrients from water, turning them into food for plants, animals and humans before it reaches our rivers and lakes. They are natural water filters that can hold pollutants like heavy metals and phosphorous and can even aid in converting dissolved nitrogen into nitrogen gas. They also play a key role in mitigating the impacts of floods by absorbing excess water and slowing the flow of runoff. Also, they can store up to fifty times more carbon compared to the rain forests.
In addition to these environmental benefits, wetlands also support a range of economic activities, such as fishing, hunting, and recreation. They are also important breeding and feeding grounds for numerous species of migratory birds, making them a vital stopover on their long journeys.
Despite this rich biodiversity, wetlands have long been drained and filled in for development or agriculture, leading to a decline in their numbers which does not bode well for our future. In December 2022, countries gathered at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference to sign a landmark agreement to protect nature. This agreement focused on conserving healthy freshwater ecosystems in an equitable way by restoring at least 30 percent of degraded inland water bodies.
According to the United Nations, around 35 percent of the world's wetlands were lost between 1970 and 2015. Given the various amount of sea-level rise, it is touted that 20-90 percent of the coastal wetlands we have not may disappear by the end of this century. In 2023, during the announcement of Union Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman focused on the protection of the wetlands by declaring a special 'Amrit Dharohar' scheme. The scheme, that falls under Green Growth priority of the government, aims to have sustainable development of the wetland ecosystem with the support of local communities.
How can individuals or communities help in conserving wetlands?
Individuals and communities can spread awareness on the importance of wetlands and the threats they face. They can support conservation organizations, dedicated to wetland conservation, directly or financially. Directly, they can join or organize local volunteer efforts to clean up and restore wetlands, or participate in citizen science programs to monitor wetland health. Industrialists can avoid activities that could damage wetlands, such as filling in wetland areas for development or dumping waste in them. Overall, they could be responsible in making sustainable choices by reducing water wastage, using environment-friendly products, not using plastics, reusing and recycling, and support businesses that have a conservation-focused agenda. Communities can support policies and laws that protect wetlands, such as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and advocate for their enforcement.
A Collective Effort
Tata Power has been consistently making efforts at protecting Lonavla Lake which is a monsoon lake. Over the years, the water body has been protected from human interferences leading to a rise in its flora and fauna. The area has become rich in biodiversity with various types of shrubs, seasonal herbs growing around the lake. It is also home to many important migratory and residential birds of the Western Ghats who have enough to feed on in the biodiversity rich area. During the breeding and migratory season, it is all the more necessary to protect these natural habitats, keeping in mind the future of these wetlands. The local community, environmentalists, lovers of nature and government authorities have all joined hands to help us in our endeavour to protect the wetlands.
More organisations need to come to the fore to contribute to this agenda. Only when various organisations make wetland conservation a priority with their consistent and extensive efforts, can we hope to see a healthier and greener environment in the future.
Wetland Day 2nd Feb 2023
Wet land Restoration is the theme for Wetland day 2023
Tata Power's Lonavla Lake is a monsoon lake. This water body has been protected largely from Human interferences and have been safe guarded from biodiversity point of view for the last many years, result of which the aquatic flora and fauna has increased. Various types of shrubs, seasonal herbs have been seen blooming over a period of years making the area rich in Biodiversity.
Many important Migratory and residential birds have been reported as plenty of natural food material is available in the area.
The local community, nature lovers, and the government Authorities play an important role in protecting these natural habitats from Human interference.
Protection to habitats especially during the breeding and migratory season is one of the important step towards conservation.