Planning to Preserve the East Kolkata Wetlands
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The East Kolkata Wetlands, just outside the Indian mega city of Kolkata, have been designated “a wetland of international importance” by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands for its myriad of human and environmental benefits and history of wise-use. The 12,500-hectare area supports tens of thousands of people through agriculture and fisheries, and serves as a “kidney” to Kolkata, receiving 250 million gallons of human wastewater daily. As well, the area is rich in plant and wildlife species, some used for medicinal purposes. However, Kolkata’s intensive urban expansion threatens to destroy critical areas of the wetlands and increasing polluted wastewater and runoff poses a significant risk to human health. These are at the root of many more threats to ecological integrity. Despite decades of use, it is only in the last few years that intentional management actions have begun, and at present, there is no comprehensive policy framework for addressing these and other threats. This report provides a basis for why the East Kolkata Wetlands must be preserved, a review of management action, past to present, and finally, a proposed policy framework and management recommendations, comprehensive in nature to ensure the continued success of this one-of-a-kind natural resource.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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