New Delhi: Wetlands across India are under great threat, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh said on Thursday and cited the case of Wullar lake in Kashmir which used to be Asia`s largest but has now turned into "a patch of green".
He said the Government has launched "a very major initiative" for restoring Wullar lake to its "original condition," but it will take 5 to 10 years.
"Wetlands across India are under great threat. Wetland performs a very significant ecological function," the Minister said at a worksop on Journalism and the Environment organized by the Ministry in collaboration with the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) here.
He also expressed concern over treating wetlands as wastelands in the country.
"Wullar used to be the largest fresh water lake in Asia. Today it is a patch of green. You can`t see any water. We only see willow trees," he said.
Stating that the Government has launched "a very major initiative" for restoring Wullar lake in "original condition", Ramesh said, "This will involve the removal of almost 20 lakh willow trees that were planted in mid 1980s as per flood control measure."
"Now we uproot them in order to create that water body. This will take around 5- 10 years. But we have launched the project," he said.
"It is a very important step for preserving very large eco system," he said.