World Wetlands Day is observed to commemorate the contribution that wetlands, On February 2 of each year, which are land areas that are submerged in water, make to the conservation of biodiversity worldwide. The ecosystem's health depends heavily on wetland habitat.
World Wetlands Day is a celebration of the environment that began in 1971 when a group of environmentalists gathered to reaffirm their love and protection of wetlands.
Revitalize and restore degraded wetlands Wetlands are ecosystems in which water controls the environment and the plants and animals that live there. All lakes, rivers, underground aquifers, swamps, marshes, wet grasslands, peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas, tidal flats, mangroves and other coastal areas, coral reefs, and all human-made sites like fishponds, rice paddies, reservoirs, and saltpans are considered wetlands.
Given the intrinsic value of these ecosystems and the benefits and services they provide, including their contributions to sustainable development and human well-being in terms of the environment, climate, ecological, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational, and aesthetic dimensions, these lands are essential to people and nature.
Wetlands are home to 40% of the world's plant and animal species, despite making up only 6% of the planet's land surface. Biodiversity in wetlands is important for our health, food supply, tourism, and employment. Wetlands provide essential ecosystem services like water regulation, including flood control and water purification, which are crucial for humans, other ecosystems, and our climate. One in eight people on Earth is dependent on wetlands for their livelihood, or more than a billion people worldwide.
Why are they at risk? Wetlands are among the ecosystems that are experiencing the highest rates of loss, degradation, and decline. It is anticipated that direct and indirect drivers like rapid human population growth, unsustainable production and consumption, and associated technological development, as well as the negative effects of climate change, will continue to cause indicators of current negative trends in global biodiversity and ecosystem functions.
The most endangered ecosystem on Earth is wetlands, which are disappearing three times faster than forests. 35 percent of the world's wetlands have been lost in just 50 years, since 1970. Drainage and filling for agriculture and construction, pollution, overfishing and resource overexploitation, invasive species, and climate change are some of the human activities that cause wetlands to disappear.
Wetlands are misunderstood as wastelands rather than life-sustaining sources of employment, income, and essential ecosystem services, and this vicious cycle of wetland loss, threatened livelihoods, and deepening poverty is the result of this misconception. Changing people's mindsets to encourage governments and communities to value and give priority to wetlands is a major obstacle.
Wetlands combat climate change in what way?
The era-defining global threat posed by climate change can only be addressed by creating wetlands. They have been referred to as the "Kidneys of the Earth" due to their ability to absorb carbon dioxide, which aids in reducing pollution and slowed global warming. The carbon that is stored in peatlands alone is twice as much as in all of the world's forests combined. Wetlands, on the other hand, release a lot of carbon when they are destroyed and drain.
Additionally, wetlands build resilience to climate change and act as a buffer against the effects of floods, droughts, hurricanes, and tsunamis.
What we can do: We must urgently raise awareness of wetlands at the national and international levels to halt their rapid decline and encourage conservation and restoration efforts. The ideal time to raise awareness of these critically important ecosystems is on World Wetlands Day.
The theme for 2023 is "Revive and restore degraded wetlands," highlighting the significance of wetlands restoration because well-restored wetlands can perform many of the same functions as the original natural wetland.
This year's appeal to save the world's wetlands and restore those we have lost is an urgent call to action and investment of human, financial, and political capital.
Did you realize?
Wetlands are home to 40% of the world's plant and animal species, despite making up only 6% of the planet's land surface.
Forests are disappearing at a rate three times faster than wetlands.
Up to 55 times faster than tropical rain forests, coastal wetlands store carbon.
3.5 billion people rely on rice, which is grown in wetland paddies.
Wetlands worldwide There are currently more than 2,400 Ramsar Sites worldwide. They cover a larger area than Mexico, more than 2.5 million square kilometers. Wetlands of all kinds can be found in the Ramsar Sites network. The global reversal of wetlands loss and degradation is the goal of the Convention on Wetlands. Learn more about these fascinating locations and the steps we can take to preserve our wetlands.
Champions of the Wetlands Through targeted trainings, young people are becoming powerful advocates for the preservation of biodiversity and ecosystems, which encourages action to safeguard the distinctive wetlands of Guatemala. The wetlands surrounding Sipacate-Naranjo are prized conservation areas and are situated in the Escuintla district on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala. They have a variety of ecosystems, including mangroves, which are essential to the local economy and serve as important nurseries for aquatic species. See how UNDP Guatemala is getting young people to #ActForWetlands.
What is the purpose of International Day?
International days and weeks serve as occasions to inform the general public about pressing issues, to mobilize political will and resources to address global issues, and to recognize and celebrate human achievements. Although the United Nations has embraced international days as a powerful advocacy tool, their existence predates the organization. We also commemorate other UN events.
Why does the day fall on February 2?
On this day, the Convention on Wetlands was adopted on February 2, 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar.
The Ramsar Convention is a treaty between different governments that lays out the guidelines for national action as well as international cooperation to preserve and wisely utilize wetlands and their resources.
According to the Ramsar List, Mexico (142) and the United Kingdom (177) have the most Ramsar Sites. With 148,000 square kilometers of land under Convention protection, Bolivia has the largest area.
In 1997, it was first celebrated.
2022's theme: Action for People and Nature in the Wetlands
What is a wetlands and how important are they?
Ecosystems that are permanently or seasonally submerged in water are known as wetlands. Mangroves, marshes, rivers, lakes, deltas, floodplains, flooded forests, rice fields, coral reefs, marine areas that are no deeper than 6 meters at low tide, and wetlands created by humans like waste-water treatment ponds and reservoirs are all examples of these types of wetlands.
A crucial component of our natural environment are wetlands. They reduce the effects of floods, absorb pollutants, and improve the quality of the water as well as build community resilience to disasters and protect coastlines from flooding.
Wetlands are essential to life on Earth and in humans. They are essential to the lives of more than a billion people, and wetlands are home to 40 percent of the world's species.
They are essential for the production of hydropower, raw materials, genetic resources for pharmaceuticals, and food.
Peatland stores 30% of carbon from land.
They are crucial to transportation, tourism, and people's spiritual and cultural well-being.
Many wetlands are important to Aboriginal people and beautiful natural areas.
What threats are associated with wetlands?
Wetlands are the most endangered ecosystem, as determined by the IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) global assessment.
Due to human activity and global warming, wetlands are disappearing at a rate three times faster than forests.
40% of the world's flora and fauna that live or breed in wetlands will be adversely affected by the threat to wetlands, according to UNESCO.
Major dangers: Climate change, development, pollution, and agriculture.
What is the state of India's wetlands?
India has the largest network of Ramsar sites in South Asia, with 49 sites spread out over 10,93,636 hectares.
While Khijadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Gujarat is a coastal wetland with a rich avifaunal diversity and serves as a safe habitat for endangered and vulnerable species, Bakhira Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh provides a safe wintering and staging ground for many species of the Central Asian Flyway.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) compiled the National Wetland Inventory and Assessment, which states that wetlands make up 4.63 percent of India's total land area.
There are 19 types of wetlands in India.
Gujarat occupies the top spot in terms of the distribution of wetlands by state, accounting for 22.7 percent of the nation's total wetlands areas and 17.56 percent of the state's total land area.
Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal come in close behind.
How significant is the Ramsar Listing?
Similar to an ISO certification, it If it consistently fails to meet their requirements, they can also remove it from the list. Although it's a nice touch, it comes at a price, and only if there is value for the brand.
As a result of the Ramsar tag, authorities are obligated to strengthen the protection system and construct barriers against intruders.
A number of bird species choose to enter the Indian subcontinent via Gujarat and Rajasthan rather than the Himalayas, traveling through Afghanistan and Pakistan. As a result, many international migratory species of ducks, waders, plovers, terns, gulls, shorebirds, and birds of prey first land in Gujarat.
During the winter, migratory birds use India's wetlands as foraging and resting areas.
In accordance with the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), the Central Asian Flyway (CAF), which spans 30 nations, is home to at least 279 populations of 182 migratory waterbird species, including 29 species that are considered to be globally endangered or very close to being endangered. These birds breed, migrate, and spend the winter there.
Source:- Drishti and an organization