Wetlands are those places where land and water live in harmony, making a whole new ecosystem. Edges of a lake, deltas of the river, marshy areas, ponds, even low lying areas which get flood easily are all considered as wetlands.
They are considered the most diverse of all the ecosystems, providing habitat for a wide variety of fauna and flora across the continents. But for us, the humans, they are just wastelands. Since 1970, we have lost more than 35% of wetlands, worldwide, either due to direct or indirect human activities.
In order to safeguard this ecosystem, an International treaty was signed in 2 February 1971, in Ramsar, Iran for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands, commonly called as Convention on Wetlands or Ramsar Convention.
Each year 2 February, is celebrated as the World Wetland Day, marking the adoption of Ramsar Convention as well as to raise awareness about the importance of Wetlands. The theme for this year’s celebration is Wetlands and climate change.
But why Wetlands and climate change???
We know that the Earth’s climate is changing and wetlands are the key to cope up with climate change.
- Wetlands are the most effective carbon absorbing sinks on the planet. Mangroves, a type of wetland can store 30% more carbon than tropical forests
- Wetlands act as a buffer in the coastal areas. As an effective solution to the rise in sea level as well as the extreme natural conditions such as tsunami, storm, cyclone etc.,
- Wetlands are like natural dams, they reduce floods as well as relieve droughts: ponds, swamps, lakes used to store excess water from rainfall minimizing the water shortages during dry seasons.
Destroying the wetlands are just like ‘adding fuel to the fire’, draining of wetland results in the release of carbon. Wetlands are huge storehouses of carbon, draining or burning of wetlands leads to 10% of fossil fuel emission globally.
It is our responsibility to restore, conserve, and wisely use our wetlands.
Take positive actions to #KeepWetlands
Article by M R Raghul