The Mahul-Sewri mudflats are one of the 160 wetlands in the country which qualify for the Ramsar Criteria, according to the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), which released the list on the eve of World Wetlands Day.
The Mahul-Sewri mudflats have been the homes for thousands of migratory birds, mostly flamingos. The site’s qualification for the Ramsar criteria has also highlighted the need to protect the area from environmental hazards and water pollution. “The main concern is water pollution. The waste water sometimes released in the creek causes contamination and also harms the wetland system,” said Prashant Shinde, executive director of Srushti Dyan, an NGO working on conservation issues.
BNHS has also emphasised the need to conserve India’s wetlands. The list also includes 25 wetlands, which have already been recognised as Ramsar sites. Dr Asad Rahmani, director, BNHS said, “We have identified 160 wetlands as potential Ramsar sites. This highlights the need to make wetland conservation a priority. They not only support huge bird populations, but also serve as the vital source of drinking water, irrigation and ground water recharge. Water pollution, dumping of waste, reclamation and poaching are some of the major threats to wetlands.”
The other potential Ramsar sites in Maharashtra are Vengurla Rocks (Sindhudurg district), Jaikwadi Sanctuary (Aurangabad), Nandur Madhmeshwar Sanctuary (Nashik), Thane creek and Ujani dam (Pune).
Every year February 2 is observed as the World Wetlands Day as it marks the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971, in Ramsar, Iran.