Wetland: biodiversity, need, benefits, threat, Conservation in maharashtra: review

Khan Farah R1 ;PatilLalita S2.
Department of Chemistry
S.H.Mutha College of Arts, Science & Commerce
UmbardeGaon, Kalyan (W)-421301
kfarahr90@gmail.com lalitapatil92@gmail.com

Biodiversity, defined as the richness of the land i.e. the variety of plants and animals life  present in a particular habitat. This richness  of biodiversity depends on the climatic condition and the area of the region, which is mainly  of two types i.e. flora and fauna. Such biodiversity can remotely be seen in ‘WETLANDS’. They are among the most productive ecosystem in the world. They provide both ecological and economical benefits to human but finds it difficult to sustain it’s existence due to increased pollution in most wetlands.  Hence can be thought as “The Biological Supermarket” and there is an urgent need for their conservation. This paper discusses the present scenario of available wetlands in the local with need for their environmental protection for the present and future.

Keywords :- Biodiversity, Maharashtra, Wetlands, Need, Threats, Conservation.

Wetland support life directly or indirectly through its many ways. Wetland are regarded as the place full of benefits; such as catching fish for food, availability of timber and fuel wood for shelter, also a rich nitrogenous ground for high yield of a staple crop such as Rice and many more.  They not only provides  food and shelter but also protect the environment with its self-sufficient mechanism like flood control, nutrients recycling, purification of water it acts as the ‘Breeding ground’ for many aquatic animals and amphibians; which is not disturb until the interference of humans for their Greed.  Fishing in these wetlands is the main livelihood for millions of traditional fishermen communities.

The state of Maharashtra is blessed with a large number of coastal and inland wetland such as back water, rivers, lakes, reservoirs which are permanently saturated with surface or ground water, thus play an important role in the state ecosystem and natural resource wealth.

Need for study:
Maharashtra is a largely water sufficient state, but is witnessing serious water storage which was never the case in the past decades.  These not only affects the ecological but also its economical growth leading to retarded sociological development of the society in general and hence it must be conserved.

Wetlands are known as the most productive environment, providing tremendous economy benefits to mankind through fishery, maintenance of water table for agriculture reducing natural hazardous like floods and drought etc.  It also provides aesthetic value to the environment along with very popular recreational sites.

However what grossly ignored today is that wetland provides critical habited for many species of fauna and flora. Innumerous mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish and invertebrate species, quite often threatened with extension; that depend on these habitats for their survival.

According to (Ramsar, 1971) wetland produce up to 8 times as much plant matter as wheat fields.  This productivity depends on proper ecological functioning of wetlands; these wetlands include natural and old manmade lake, reservoir etc.  Which are among the most threatened habitats today due to mainly land reclamation, pollution and over exploitation of wetland etc.

The Importance of a wetland can be identified based on nine criteria; most important of all is population of migration of birds (Ramsar – 1971.)  Ramsar identified 6 important wetland in Maharashtra (Ramsar-1971,1996).  These includes Lonar natural lake, Nathsagar reservoir, Yeldarireservoir,Nandar, Madhmeshwar tank, Navegaon and Ujani reservoir.

Various method undertaken for conservation of wetland “Protecting and Managing Wetland” April 2005; they are Buffers and Compensatory mitigation.  Buffers are used to maintain existing function reducing the impact of adjacent land use and when the impact to wetland are unavoidable replacement of lost function has been typically through compensatory mitigation in which other wetlands are created restore or enhanced using  specific ratios based on area.

Data Collection:
Thane Creek and Ulhas River are one such wetland mentioned above; located adjacent to the cities of Mumbai and Thane in state Maharashtra. Being the largest marine bodies in an enclosed area it separates Mumbai and part of Thane city from the main land of India. Hence arises the need for space to destruction of mangroves through reclamation of wetland.

There have been quality related issues due to gradual decrease in the amount of D.O (Dissolved Oxygen) in Thane Creek since 1981.

As published by (Jha in 1999) the profile shows the evidence of Hg and Ni, with continuous Hg and Pb in surfacial sediment of Ulhās Estuary and bioaccumulation of Fe, Zn and Pb in Thane Creek compared to Mahim and Versova Creek (Zingde, 1999)

The monthly fish catch in Thane Creek has shown a tremendous reduction of 68% in 1992-2000, fishing became an occasional activity of about only 4% monthly turnover (Goldin, 2003).

Loss in wetland area in Thane Creek surrounding Digha and Mankhurd is estimated as 103.2ha and 343.18ha respectively after1990 (Samamt2002). The mangroves around Thane Creek has reduced to 15 ha from 25 ha in 93 and to 9 ha in 2000 (Goldin, 2003).

Due to low assimilating capacity and no proper waste water disposal, reduction in effective water way is observed, and the basis of Thane Creek is constricted.

Analysis :

This paper deals with the secondary data collected during the work on Thane Creek and UlhasRiver for the water quality and sediment study. (Vinay S. Nikam, The 12th world Lake Conference, 2008).

In this study, a total of 120 water sample and 44 sediments were collected.

A Water Quality: –Physiochemical properties of Thane Creek and Ulhas River shows a great deviation from the prescribed standards.

  1. a) DissolvedOxygen (D.O.):- The Water sample exhibit poor water quality. The Value of D.O. from the inner side of the Creek between Balkum to Kalwa Bridge is 0.9 mg/per Liter, KalwaBridge to Airoli Bridge it is 2.2mg/per Liter respectively. This shows the deterioration of water quality.

The D.O. of Ulhas River samples collected from Kalyan Area has D.O. Value less than prescribed standards of 4mg/per Liter (SW II) as stated by Central Pollution Control Board.

  1. b) Biotechnical Oxygen Demand (BOD):- BOD is the indicator of biodegradable pollution. BOD value in inner portion of both Thane Creek and Ulhas River are heavily polluted with the value of 3mg/Per Liter (SW II) in 100% sample collected from edge and Center.

B SedimentStudy: – The analysis sediments show the presence of heavy metals and pollutant.

  1. a) Organic Content: – A high organic content is observed in UlhasRiver and Thane Creek as an impact of domestic sewage disposal. (2008, 12th World Lake Conference)
  2. b) Heavy Metals: – These is presence heavy metal like Zinc, Chromium, Cadmium and Copper are traced from the location due the sludge slurries from the adjacent factories.
Parameter Thane Creek Ulhas River Estuary
Balkum to Kalwa bridge Kalwa bridge to Airoli Kalyan to Balkum
pH 7.1-7.9(7.5) 7.1-7.8(7.5) 7.4-8.0(7.7)
DO (mg/l) 0-1.8(0.9) 0-3.6(2.2) 3.4-4.6(4.0)
BOD (mg/l) 3.6-6.0(4.8) 3.0-5.4(4.1) 7.4-13.4(9.61)
Suspended solid (mg/l) 20-50(30.8) 20-50(30.8)


A holistic approach is while planning the mitigation measures to conserve mangroves and wetland.  Creek, River, Estuary being an important water bodies supporting the lives of many biota are at an urgent need for conservation.

The success of the conservation programme depend upon an integrated operational strategies of the various agencies such as

  1. a) Sewage Scheme: – Implementation of an underground sewage network and treatment projects by laying sewer line, installation of pumps and low cost sanitation system.
  2. b) Solid Waste Management: – TMC has proposed to installed and operate four waste EPS and waste plastic melting machine through social organization. TMC has also acquired a land at Diaghar Scientific land filled cite for proper waste management.
  3. c) Mangrooves Plantation: – Initiation of mangroves plantation by TMC. Restoring partial mangroves on the shore line of the flood, prone area has been started under “Wetland Conservation Act”.

d)Rain Water Harvesting: – New an mandatory construction project for rain water harvesting like 1) Surface Run off Harvesting

2) Roof Top Rainwater Harvesting etc.

  1. e) Public Awareness: – Any type of conservation can be effective only if the human themselves realize it’s important a then planning and implementing for the better future. This can be achieved by conducting awareness programmes on various occasions such as World water day, Environmental day etc.


This paper has presented a review on the wetlands and current status of pollution in Thane Creek and Ulhas River.  The measure undertaken by Thane Municipal Corporation.  It also presents integrated efforts needed to conserve the wetland in Thane Creek and Ulhas River.

Reference :-

  1. Vinay S. Nikam, Arun Kumar, Kamal Lalla and Kapil Gupta (2008)

Conservation of Wetlands and Mangrooves in Thane Creek and Ulhas River estuary,


  1. Jay Samant, Kolhapur (2012)

Wetland Conservation in Maharashtra: Need, Threat and Potential.

  1. Goldin, Q, (2003)

Determination of Thane Creek ecosystem near Thane City over past 20 years.Sesheiyana, 2.6-7

Ramsar Convention Bureau (1971) : The Conservation and sustainable use of wetland.

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