Friday, February 6, 2015

MAP News Issue 357 - Feb 2, 2015

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The MAP News
357th Edition                                February 7, 2015


FEATURE STORY

Sand mining killing mangroves near Thane
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INDIA - Even as the world celebrated World Wetlands Day on Feb 2, destruction of the coastal ecosystem continues in and around Mumbai. This comes almost a year after the Bombay high court (HC) ordered an interim ban on construction and reclamation of wetlands. Every year, February 2 is observed as World Wetlands Day, to mark the adoption of the Ramsar Convention 1971, which is an intergovernmental treaty providing the framework for national action and international cooperation for wetland conservation in India. This time around, it’s along the right side of the Kasheli creek bridge on the Thane-Bhiwandi highway where mangroves have been chopped and wetland reclaimed by  dumping debris. “Some local sand miners from Balkum village are reclaiming the wetland to start a sand storage facility,” said Nandakumar Pawar of non-government organisation Shree Ekvira Aai Pratishthan, which has written to the state mangrove cell. With sand mining at the Kasheli creek, wetlands have been reclaimed over the years to create pathways for trucks that ply sand extracted from the creek. READ MORE
 
AFRICA
 
UAE marks World Wetlands Day
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United Arab Emirates - The UAE joined the international community in observing the World Wetlands Day on Feb 2nd, 2015. The day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar. The World Wetlands Day 2015 was being held under the theme “Wetlands for Our Future – Join us!” Dr Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, said in a statement that the UAE were making tremendous efforts to protect and conserve biodiversity in general and terrestrial and marine protected areas, and wetlands in particular, reported Wam, the state news agency. The minister said that collective national plans would have a positive impact on these ecosystems and their economic value and services as well as their economic, social and environmental benefits. READ MORE
 
World Wetlands Day 2015 - Clean-Up Campaign
MAURITIUS - A clean-up campaign at the Pointe d'Esny Wetland was launched Feb 2 in presence of the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr M. Seeruttun to mark World Wetlands Day 2015 commemorated on 2 February. The theme for this year is Wetlands for our Future. The site, which was proclaimed in September 2011, harbours a rich mangrove forest ecosystem which acts as breeding nursery for marine fi and crabs. It plays a vital role in supporting the marine ecosystem. After the Rivulet Terre Rouge Estuary Bird Sanctuary and the Blue Bay Marine Park, Pointe d'Esny was designated as a Ramsar Site of International Importance. World Wetlands Day was celebrated for the first time in Mauritius in 1997 and since then government agencies, nongovernmental organisations and groups of citizens at all levels of the community have taken advantage of the opportunity to undertake actions aimed at raising public awareness. READ MORE
 
ASIA
 
Policy on crab farming in mangrove forests
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INDIA - In a bid to boost mangrove conservation, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has asked the forest department to draft a policy to incentivise crab farming in the mangrove forests and make it a viable alternative source of livelihood for fishermen. The Chief Minister released the first batch of 500 crablets in a pond near the Thane creek at Airoli and surveyed the wetlands along Thane creek up to Vashi bridge on Monday. Considered one of the tastiest crab species, the mangrove crab in their natural habitats can grow up to 800 gm within six months, if conditions are ideal, said mangrove cell officials. Sale of crabs earned India around Rs 85 crore in foreign exchange last year and Maharashtra earned Rs 7 crore, said officials from Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA). The CM also wants the mangroves and flamingos along the Thane creek to be protected to enhance the biodiversity in the area and ensure better ecotourism,” said an official from the CMO.  READ MORE
 
P67.45M earmarked for mangrove, beach forest dev’t projects
PHILIPPINES - The government has earmarked P67.45 million this year for massive mangrove-planting activities and beach forest development in targeted coastline areas in the Caraga region to further protect communities from storm surges during onslaughts of typhoons. Alongside the budget allocation, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources office in Region 13 (DENR-13) is also set to plant this year 4,845,000 million mangrove seedlings in target areas spanning 1,938 hectares in Northeastern Mindanao, according to DENR-13 Executive Director Nonito Tamayo. In Surigao del Norte alone, a total of 1,206 hectares of areas will be planted with mangroves using a budget of P41.9 million, while Agusan del Norte and Dinagat Islands will do so in 100 hectares and a P3.48 million allotment each. “Aside from global warming and climate change mitigation, this part of the National Greening Program (NGP) via massive planting of mangrove trees also aims to protect people living along coastlines and shores,” Tamayo said. READ MORE
 
The mangroves of Karachi — facing an existential threat?
PAKISTAN – The most visible and delicate ecosystem of Karachi, a city with a profound coastal environment, is that of the mangrove forests that thrive in the mingled salt and freshwater where the Indus River meets the Arabian Sea. These forests, however, are under existential threat for a number of reasons, particularly along the city coastline. There is untreated municipal waste and industrial pollution causing still-undetermined amounts of damage, there is exploitation of the trees by the area’s communities for use as firewood, building material and fodder and, most alarmingly, there is the chopping down of the forests to make way for coastal development projects. The Pakistani coastline stretches for around 990 kilometres, with the Exclusive Economic Zone – the sea zone in which the state has special rights over marine resources – covering an area of about 240,000 square kilometres. READ MORE
 
Sunderban mangrove has components to cure Type 2 diabetes
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BANGLADESH - Sundari trees, the most extensively found mangrove species in the Sunderbans, have some components which can bring down the level of Type 2 diabetes, according to a study. Conducted over a period of five years, the study "Identification of Anti-Diabetic compounds from Sunderban Mangrove" by the scientists of R G Kar Medical College and hospital in West Bengal government, has claimed to have found that various parts of these trees from leaves to aerial roots contain components to maintain the blood sugar level in Type 2 diabetics patients. "It has been revealed for the first time that Sundari trees which are quite abundant in Sunderbans region have high anti-diabetic components which can be very useful in curing Type 2 diabetics. We will soon apply for patent," said Anjan Adhikari, the lead scientist of the project. READ MORE
 
Airoli to get bird-watching centre, mangrove tourism project
INDIA - Bringing cheer to those interested in eco-tourism, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has given his approval to a project that will turn the area near Airoli creek into a tourist spot. Fadnavis toured the mangrove areas earlier this week and said that mangrove tourism will be given a push in the area and a bird-watching centre will also be developed. Airoli MLA Sandeep Naik has been demanding that the area be developed for tourism purposes. “The area near the creek will be declared as a protected one and it will be developed as a tourist spot,” said Fadnavis. Naik, who accompanied the chief minister, informed him that various species of birds, including flamingoes, were found near the creek. He has demanded that this area be developed as a bird-watching area. Naik had also pushed for the development of mangrove tourism in Airoli since it has a diverse marine ecology. READ MORE
 
Wetlands play a vital role for human survival, biological diversity
PAKISTAN - Federal Minister for Climate Change Mushahidullah Khan on Sunday said that conserving wetlands and protecting them from any damage was critical for their sustainability, as these water bodies play a vital role for environmental services, human survival, biological diversity and mitigating floods. In a statement on the occasion of the World Wetlands Day being marked under the international theme “Wetlands for Our Future”, the minister highlighted that the theme of this year’s Wetlands Day highlights unprecedented significance of wetlands for a better tomorrow. Mushahidullah said wetlands constitute lakes, marshes, peatlands, wet grasslands, streams and rivers. Underscoring significance of the wetlands, he said, “wetlands not only purify and replenish our water and provide the fish that feed hundreds of millions of people, but they also act as a natural sponge against flooding and drought as well as protect our coastlines.”
 
AMERICAS
 
Red Mangrove swamps declared at risk
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VENZUELA - Thousands of hectares of mangroves are in a total state of vulnerability in Venezuela. The alert was directed to the environmental community and the authorities of the national government by Henderson Hill, executive secretary of the Association for Environmental Preservation in Falcon ( AEPA -Falcón ). Hill was speaking at a special meeting held on International Day of Wetlands, February 2nd. The management specialist on ecosystem of marshes and member of the International Mangrove Network warned that this situation could result to the Venezuelan nation being listed in the Montreux record, which is responsible for keeping a detailed records of these critical spaces which are endangered as a result of technological developments , pollution or other human interference. READ MORE (en espanol)
 
Editor’s note: We rely on our friends working Central America to closely monitor such an unusual joint venture.
Energy firm, army, stakeholders establish mangrove nursery
EL SALVADORE -  Growing mangrove trees and sustaining the availability of its seedlings are the efforts of the stakeholders in Misamis Oriental in protecting the environment and conserve the marine life along the Macajalar Bay. Recently, energy firm Steag State Power Inc. (SPI), the Macajalar Bay Development Alliance (MBDA) and the 4th Infantry Diamond Division (4ID) in collaboration with the local government of El Salvador City, have heightened the mangrove growing activity along the eastern shores of the province. SPI with its environmental protection program donated to this city an initial amount of P 127,000 for the establishment of a mangrove nursery at Barangay Molugan here for the propagation of seedlings to support the 15 member local government units belonging to the MBDA for their future planting activities. READ MORE
 
EUROPE
 
World Wetlands Day Statement from Dr. Christopher Briggs, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention
SWITZERLAND - With our theme this year as “Wetlands for our Future”, we want to highlight the choices ahead of us all, considering the all-too-real threat to wetlands around the world. Latest research indicates that over 64% of the world’s wetlands have been destroyed since 1900, and in some regions, notably Asia, the loss is even higher. This rapid decline means that access to fresh water is worsening for almost two billion people worldwide, while flood control, disaster risk reduction, carbon storage and traditional wetland livelihoods are all suffering and our futures with them. In addition to loss of water and other wetlands services, the richness of wildlife - our biodiversity - has also been affected. Populations of freshwater species have declined by 76% in the last forty years, according to WWF’s Living Planet Index, and this is a worse prospect than any other place on earth. What is driving this loss? Unfortunately, wetlands are often viewed as wasteland; something to be drained, filled and converted to other purposes. READ MORE

LAST WORD(S)
Dear Monica,
 
I'm very excited and grateful to know that one of the artwork from Malaysia was selected to the MAP's 2015 International Children's Art Calendar. Thank you very much for sending us the beautiful calendars as well as the certificates.
 
For your information, we have organised a simple awards ceremony for the young winners during a mangrove art exhibition for celebrating World Wetlands Day 2015. Please check the newspaper articles (in Chinese) about the mangrove art competition and awards ceremony.
 
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I hope you all enjoyed the sharings. Thanks again and wish MAP family a happy World Wetland Day!    
 
Regards
Yun Yun
Nature Classroom
Penang, Malaysia


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