World Wetlands Day 2024
This year's theme and agenda call for partnership and the creation of awareness and appreciation of our wetlands for human well-being.
Every year on the 2nd of February the World gathers to celebrate our wetlands to categorically raise awareness of the importance of wetlands for the ecosystem and biodiversity. World Wetlands Day historically began on 2nd February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar which recognized the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their enormous cultural, economic, scientific and recreational significance. This led to the adoption of the convention on wetlands. This year's campaign anticipates nourishing a sustainable relationship between human beings and the wetlands. This year, 2024, the theme is " Wetlands and Human Wellbeing".
A wetland is a piece of land which is either covered by water or saturated with water. Wetlands may occur across diverse water bodies such as on a nearby spring, river, or lake and alongside the coastal areas. They include swamps, bogs, marshes, peatlands, mangroves, seagrasses and coral reefs. Wetlands are of key benefits as they play meaningful biological benefits to the ecosystem such as being sources of water, biodiversity conservation, flood prevention and protection, water purification and improvement and shoreline stabilization. Furthermore, wetlands are also habitats for aquatic animals such as fish and some terrestrial plants.
Pollution of our wetlands has become rampant with industrial chemicals, the disposal of plastic bottles and other unrecyclable materials resulting in harmful impacts to the wetlands and the species that depend solely on them. Previous reports indicate that 800 marine and coastal species are affected by the population of our wetlands. There is therefore of dire need to restore our bodies through establishing policies and regulations that will help eliminate factors that contribute to the degradation of our wetlands.
This year's theme and agenda call for partnership and the creation of awareness and appreciation of our wetlands for human well-being and promote actions to protect and restore them and ensure that their benefits are recognized and valued by all. This comes amidst the fight over combating climate change as our wetlands are key stakeholders in our ecosystem and play a vital role by acting as carbon sinks in that they take in more carbon than they release through a process termed carbon sequestration.
A report done on the environment indicates that wetlands approximately cover 5.5 per cent of the land. An estimated 95 per cent of these wetlands are freshwater and the rest are marine or in other terms estuarine. The aesthetic of our wetlands is on the verge of disappearing into the blues. This comes with a 35% loss. Globally, wetlands are vanishing three times than forest coverage which is a result of the ever-growing human population and increase in human activities such as infrastructure development, land conversion and water withdrawals.
Protecting and restoring our wetlands will not only promise a long future for the resident plants and animals but also protect the people and businesses that depend either directly or indirectly on the services they render. All are called upon to participate and join the landmarking of this year's global movement to celebrate and protect wetlands for the greater merit to our fauna, flora and mother nature.
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