TN to notify 17 water bodies as wetlands

The Tamil Nadu government will notify 17 water bodies spread across 2,672 hectares in the state as wetlands under the Wetlands (Conservation and Management Rules) 2017.

The draft notification seeking comments from the public will be issued in February 2022 itself, according to information from the state government sources.

Kadabakulam spread across 706 hectares, Thirumeni lake in 310 hectares, Penugondapuram lake in Krishnagiri (199 hectares) are the prominent water bodies that will be notified. Other water bodies spread in Erode, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruchi, and Namakkal districts will also be notified.

The notification will lead to conservation of these water bodies on the basis of site-specific strategies, and a comprehensive list of activities to be regulated and permitted will be developed for specific wetlands.

Solid waste dumping, industrial effluent dumping, and encroachments will be prohibited once these water bodies are notified as wetlands.

The draft notification will be issued in February 2022 itself and the public will be given 60 days to submit their comments.

Sources in the Tamil Nadu state wetland authority told IANS that if there are no major objections, a final gazette notification will be issued.

The National Atlas prepared by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has marked that the state has 43,916 wetlands, including 5,013 natural wetlands spread across more than nine lakh hectares. This is around 6.92 per cent of the state’s geographical area.

Deepak Srivastava, member secretary, Tamil Nadu State Wetland Authority told IANS: “Of these wetlands shown in the National Atlas prepared by the ISRO in 2011, several were abused and many disappeared. The first objective of the state wetland authority is to protect the wetlands that are remaining, and of the 5013 wetlands, if 1000 are less encroached or untouched, we will notify them as soon as possible to check further degradation.”

The Tamil Nadu government has recently launched the Tamil Nadu Wetlands mission aimed to identify and map 100 wetlands in five years and restore the ecological balance. The wetland mission has been earmarked a total budget of Rs 150 crore for its activities.

The Chennai-based National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management will be roped in for mapping and demarcating the 150 wetlands and to prevent them from further degradation.

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