Urban and peri-urban wetlands of the city of Kolkata in India are under threat, and their ecosystem services are being lost due to rapid urbanization. These wetlands provide over 27 provisioning, supporting, regulating, and cultural benefits directly to the poor. Therefore, wise use of wetlands should be a high priority for development and nature conservation as well. India’s National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems, launched in 2013, aims to provide states with guidelines for taking action to safeguard the integrity and natural ecological functions of wetlands and other aquatic ecosystems.
Kolkata is a low-lying city surrounded by two major rivers and a network of waterways. With a gloomy forecast for sea level rise, the city is extremely vulnerable and is being placed in a high-alert category for flood risk. With its 14.5 million people at risk, the city government sees conserving natural wetlands as an important mitigation strategy.