Ramsar convention (at Iran) in1971 brought out the importance and service value of wetland. India signed Agreement in 1975 to conserve wetland. Service value of our wetland is more than forest ecosystem [3,28,402 hectares worth Rs.5,60,000 cr/ year]
1. Between 1991 and 2001, 8% of wetlands in India were lost due to lack of appreciation.
A link of Dept. of forest and environment with revenue department, dept.s of industry, irrigation, agriculture, animal husbandry, local bodies etc. could have ensured optimal use of wetland to an extent.
2. Infrastructural development, Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and techno-park establishments organized in isolated pockets in the name of economic development and employment generation should have received an opportunity to be tested against any one the resolutions or rulings of judiciary. There should also have been an opportunity to test projected economic gains against the loss of conventional jobs or social and environment degradation. Economic programs involving revenue or industry departments for acquisition of grassland, agricultural land, filling-up of wetland etc. can be subjected to scientific assessment on their impact on agriculture production, food production, environment and social degradation. This can identify and reduce land use for establishing SEZ on scientific lines and on comparative merit. A social audit to verify the provisions of constitution (article 38) on the right to work for a decent living or the right of future generations for a clean living space can be legally scrutinized. They would automatically get regulated if the environment protection act is tested and law department is engaged to review the publication of notifications for land acquisition for public purposes. Even the modified LA Act of 2013 contains room for misuse.
A thrust on sustainability came with the Earth Summit or UNCED [United Nations Conference on Environment & Development], in June 1992 at Rio de Janeiro, where sustainability was identified (in Agenda 21) in terms of continuing to improve human well being, whilst not undermining the natural resource base on which future generations will have to depend. [[email protected]]. In 1996 the Supreme Court of India (SC) ruled that, gifts of nature like land, water & air are, also meant for future generations, and that any development interfering them infringes the right to life enshrined in the constitution. “only sustainable development be followed in future”.
Administrative errors can be avoided if value of environment could be accessed through observable and measurable parameters by a co-ordination among revenue department, dept.s of law, industry, irrigation, local bodies etc.