World Wetlands Day 2003: India



Gujarat celebrates WWD 2003


The H & H. B. Kotak Institute of Science,Grahak Suraxa Academy and the Centre for Environment Education, Rajkot, jointly organised WWD 2003 with a varied programme of activities. Making full use of meetings as well as print and electronic media, the group reckon to have contacted over 5,000 people in the Rajkot area of Gujarat to raise awareness about the value of wetlands. A leaflet about wetlands was produced in the Gujarat language and distributed to rural people and a memorandum was prepared and sent to the State as well as Central Government asking that wetlands be given protection under the Wildlife Act. A drawing and essay competition drew entries from 525 school and college students. The winning picture (shown below) was painted by 16-year old Ms Aparna M. Chandarana, a standard 11 student at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Vidyalya Higher Secondary Section English Medium School.

(Ed: The painting was generously donated to the Ramsar Bureau where it is now displayed in our offices. Congratulations to Ms Aparna)

The winning picture by 16-year old Ms Aparna M. Chandarana




Memorandum sent to State and Central Government


CEF - Ralkot, KSI - Rajkot
The World Consefvation Union
Post Box No. 63, Ralkot - 360 001.(lndia), Ph. :0281 - 573113.


(Sent to the Chief Minister, Goverment of Gujarat; the Minister of Forest & Environment, Govt. of Gujarat;  the Chief Secretary, Govt. of Gujarat; the Collector, Rajkot District.)

 Sub.: For Wetlands in Gujarat: No Wetlands - No Water - perfect time to highlight these values.



Environment Education Centre of Gujarat Vigyan Parishad; Grahak Suraxa Academy - Rajkot, and Kotak Science College has organised World Wetlands Day 2003 Celebration on 2nd February at Ralkot and its nearby areas (Saurashtra - Kutch). We demand for Wetlands in Gujarat: No Wetlands No Water - a perfect time to highlight these values. We appeal put Wetlands under Wildlife Act as a protected areas.

We are proposing to focus Ramsar's World Wetlands Day- 2003 on the slogan “Wetlands and Water"; “Wetlands Water, Life and War” we encourage you to launch on 2nd February 2003 a District, State and National Campaign to help rural and urban people to further its cultural heritage and surface water protection.

Gujarat plays a major role in the development of wetlands and its cultural, aesthetic values. Wetlands are among the world's most productive environments. They are cradles of biological diversity and are also important store houses of plant genetic materials, wetlands provide tremendous economic benefits.

In addition, wetlands have special attributes as part of the cultural heritage of humanity they are related to religious and cosmological beliefs, constitute a source of aesthetic inspiration, provide wildlife sanctuaries, and form the basis of important local traditions.

Archaeologists can tell us that the close association between people and wetlands has an ancient history.

Wetlands destruction and loss of traditional management practices means not only the loss of the more tangible wetland values such as flood control, ground water replenishment, nutrient cycling etc. but also the loss of our wetland cultural heritage.

Ramsar's World Wetlands Day - 2003 is focused on the No Wetlands No Water and the need for management strategies that will safeguard this water as well as the natural values and functions of wetlands.

Looking back, we can identify various different ways in which people have been associated with wetlands many place of Saurashtra - Kutch as well Gujarat associated with wetlands. Gujarat State has to give support by all means. If  No Wetlands No Water then water war will take place.

Two of the organisers of WWD 2003 in Gujarat

The traditional links of people to their wetlands have determined customs and beliefs that still continue to influence the attitudes of contemporary local societies But in most parts of the Gujarat, these linkages have weakened as increasingly S & T.

WWD-2003 on 2 February provides the opportunity for wetland managers and enthusiastic around the world to look at No Wetlands  No Water  Stop Water War in future

Dr. Paresh Pandya
Member - CEC: IUCN
Gujarat: Vigyan Parishad
Kotak Science College-Rajkot

Reported by Dr Paresh Pandya, H & H. B. Kotak institute of Science, Member - CEC: IUCN

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