World Wetlands Day 2021: Here is Why It's Important to Save Wetlands
February 2 each year is the World Wetlands Day, marking the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announces a theme for the day, and it's 'Wetlands and Water' this year.
The 2021 campaign underscores the significance of wetlands to "the quantity and quality of freshwater on our planet".
Wetlands are land areas, which are seasonally or permanently flooded with water. The Ramsar Convention's definition for wetlands includes "areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which, at low tides, does not exceed six meters".
Fishponds, rice paddies, and saltpans are human-made wetlands.
India has 42 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance. On Tuesday, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan took to Twitter and said that while being a "critical source of freshwater", the wetlands are also vital to the health and wellbeing of our planet.
"This #WorldWetlandsDay2021, help spread awareness for conservation of this ecosystem of rich biodiversity," he added.
Reasons to save wetlands:
Wetlands are critical for human survival. They provide the water and productivity upon which countless species of plants and animals rely for survival.
Ranging from freshwater supply, food and building materials, and biodiversity, to flood control, groundwater recharge, and climate change mitigation, Wetlands are essential for “ecosystem services”.
They protect our shores from wave action, reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality.
Wetlands store water and help us deal with dry seasons when there is little rainfall. They also reduce carbon emissions.
Wetlands provide good areas for grazing, along with a supply of running water, can be beneficial to farming livestock.