A Wetland
of
International Importance
Under
Precarious State
of
Management

Kumar Deepak
(Environmentalist)
Deepor Beel is one of the Wetland Ecosystem, designated
as the “Wetlands of International Importance” under the
Ramsar Con...
I visited this significant Ramsar Site on 30 December
2013. Despite of a globally significant eco-tourism
site, I faced th...
 Why do the Deepor Beel Wildlife Officials allow
such picnics within the premises?
 Why do our school academic Environme...
Wetland Ecosystem is considered to be one of the most
productive ecosystems of the world. There are twelve
villages around...
The State policy makers should know the huge monitory
value of the Deepor Beel. The Economics of Ecosystem &
its Biodivers...
Now a Day Deepor Beel excluding the 410 Hectares of the
Notified habitat of the Wildlife Bird Sanctuary is
heavily infeste...
Deepor Beel is one of the Global Eco-tourism sites in
India. It’s been becoming a substance of research to
assess “The Eco...
This is the responsibility of the local people those
are the potential beneficiaries of the economic &
ecological values o...
Bureaucrats, planners & developers have so far overlook
or deliberately neglect the fact that the depletion of
the wetland...
Understanding the Economics
of
Wetland Ecosystem

Journey continues....
Deepar Beel; A Ramsar Designated Wetland under Precarious state of Management...
Deepar Beel; A Ramsar Designated Wetland under Precarious state of Management...
Deepar Beel; A Ramsar Designated Wetland under Precarious state of Management...
Deepar Beel; A Ramsar Designated Wetland under Precarious state of Management...
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Deepar Beel; A Ramsar Designated Wetland under Precarious state of Management...

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A Ramsar Site Designated Wetland needs urgent Government's attention to develop greater local awareness about the great economic value of wetland ecosystem in human's life...It's a natural 'kidney' of the marginalized & poor section of the society....

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Deepar Beel; A Ramsar Designated Wetland under Precarious state of Management...

  1. 1. A Wetland of International Importance Under Precarious State of Management Kumar Deepak (Environmentalist)
  2. 2. Deepor Beel is one of the Wetland Ecosystem, designated as the “Wetlands of International Importance” under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, 1971. Being a Ramsar site, this wetland habitation allocated 10km South-West from the Guwahati city, stands as a pride ecological destination of the State of Assam. Deepor Beel has an estimated gross area of 4,100 Hectares with an open lake basin having perennial water carrying Gross area 1010 Hectares connected with a set of inflow-runoff from the adjacent hills & Guwahati City, Mara-Bharalu & Basistha Bahini & out flow through Khandajan. This wetland has an Important Birds Area/IBA which has been notified as a Bird Sanctuary within an estimated area of 410 Hectares.
  3. 3. I visited this significant Ramsar Site on 30 December 2013. Despite of a globally significant eco-tourism site, I faced the worst ever experience in managing the varying degree of transportation cost (1000 INR-1500 INR within the 10 kms range) from the Guwahati Station to the wetland site. I preferred the Bus service. Any how I reached the Deepor Wildlife Sanctuary. I introduced myself to an employee there & requested him to call on the Wildlife Official. But unfortunately he was not available on that working day. Although the employee cooperated me in the mobile monitoring of the wetland area sailing over the boat all across the lake channel. I requested the employee to carry the dustbin to the site alongside the lakes where school students were organizing picnic. He made a pledge to the school students to throw the waste into the disposal bin. Major questions arise;
  4. 4.  Why do the Deepor Beel Wildlife Officials allow such picnics within the premises?  Why do our school academic Environmental Sciences syllabi fail to decipher about the economic benefit of the wetland ecosystem services?  Why does the Department of Environment, Assam fail to enforce the guidelines mentioned under the Ramsar Convention with regard to conservation & protection of the Wetland Ecosystem?
  5. 5. Wetland Ecosystem is considered to be one of the most productive ecosystems of the world. There are twelve villages around the periphery of this wetland. So far, Department of Environment, Assam could not set up a team to assess the primary benefits of the Deepor Wetland Ecosystem services. We have so far ignored the potential economic & ecological benefits of the wetland especially to the people of surrounding habitat. Deepor Beel is the waterlogged asset for them. This Ramsar site is providing some major tangible or direct services to the locals, inter alia, include production of food like fishes, paddy, fruits, rhizomes; a major water supply & storage for the domestic, Industrial & agricultural purposes; the biggest provider of food, fodder, fibre & fuel (wood); supply of plants with diverse medicinal qualities; genetic materials for the variety of uses. Deepor Beel is providing some major intangible or indirect services such as local climate regulation; a main carbon sink system for the Green House Gases; water cycle regulator including underground water level & their discharge as well as recharge; mitigating the impact of natural disasters like flood & storm; erosion regulator & soil formation; a water purifier & waste treatment. Deepor Beel is offering some major habitat services such assisting favorable habitat for the flora & fauna, nutrient cycling, seed dispersal; primary production. This Ramsar site has some significant cultural values include spiritual needs of some people & recreational, aesthetics & educational facilities.
  6. 6. The State policy makers should know the huge monitory value of the Deepor Beel. The Economics of Ecosystem & its Biodiversity (TEEBS),a renowned functionary of the United Nations Environment Programme assessed the monitory value of the Wetland at INR 22,24,350 Per Hectare ( 1 USD = 50INR) in 2012. Therefore the gross monitory value of the Deepor Beel is around INR 9.11 Billion. Deepor Beel acts as ideal aquifers to provide fresh under-ground drinking water with no content of Arsenic, Mercury, Lead, Iron, Fluorine etc. The Biggest characteristic of the Wetland is to act as a Mass Water Purifier. Apart from such major Ecosystem Services, This Ramsar Site is a habitat of some threatened species of Birds like Spotted Pelican, Lesser & Greater Adjutant Stork, and Baer’s Pochard etc. This wetland habitat provides a great fishing ground for the local rural inhabitants around as many as 50 species of fish are reported. The flora species are an important livelihood options for the local inhabitants; include Nymphaea nuts & flowers are being harvested for sale. The seeds of Giant Water Lily Euryale ferox are annually leased by the Government Revenue Department.
  7. 7. Now a Day Deepor Beel excluding the 410 Hectares of the Notified habitat of the Wildlife Bird Sanctuary is heavily infested with Water Hyacinth, besides growing weeds such as Hydrilla & Nymphaea etc. raise serious concern over enhancing eutrophication due to the influx of huge amount of untreated Guwahati urban sewage & other inorganic/industrial effluents & Agricultural run-off.There is a drastic decline of around 60 Square Km due to the laying Railway lines that divided the wetlands into small pockets & peoples are encroaching the land within the Beel area by constructing concrete houses & huts. There is an evident of plastic wastes on Mass scale around the Railways Bridge Zone of the Deepor Lake. It shows serious mis-management of the Deepor Wildlife Sanctuary authority. When I asked about such heavy plastic zones within the notified zone of the Wildlife Sanctuary, the only available employee explored about the dumping of wastes by Guwahati Municipal Corporation. Guwahati City has no waste treatment plant & the waste is directly discharged into the River Brahmaputra & Beel, via Basistha-Bahini inlet canal.
  8. 8. Deepor Beel is one of the Global Eco-tourism sites in India. It’s been becoming a substance of research to assess “The Economics of Wetland Ecosystem & its Biodiversity”. The basic principle of wetland conservation that it should be utilized for the benefit of the people without compromising the biodiversity values in a sustainable way. If the Wise-Use Principle along with the ecosystem services values of the wetlands is accepted by policy makers & planners, much of the conflicts with conservations would become nonexistent.
  9. 9. This is the responsibility of the local people those are the potential beneficiaries of the economic & ecological values of the Deepor Wetland habitat to protect & conserve it. The State Government should work on a Proper Management Action Plan include; Demarcation of Boundary; Construction of Embankments to prevent further encroachment; Dredging of silted areas; Carrying forward the scientific research on contour mapping Plan, Catchment Areas Upgradation Plan, water quality as well as floral & fauna studies. It’s an urgent time to address the comprehensive plan structure to rejuvenate the Deepor Beel. We must have to assess the socio-economic significance of the economics of the wetland ecosystem & its bio-diversity. There is an urgent need to introduce diverse applied awareness methodologies to understand the potential economic & ecological benefits.
  10. 10. Bureaucrats, planners & developers have so far overlook or deliberately neglect the fact that the depletion of the wetland habitat affects the people around the peripheral areas especially the poor for whom the wetlands are the resource base for sustenance. I pledge the Department of Environment to fix entry ticket fee structure separately for the tourists, Steel Camera & Video recording. The revenue generated shall be utilized for the management of the wetland site.
  11. 11. Understanding the Economics of Wetland Ecosystem Journey continues....
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