World Wetlands Day – February 2
2nd February each year is World Wetlands Day. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
World Wetlands Day was first celebrated in 1997. Since then government agencies, non-government organisations and community groups have celebrated World Wetlands Day by undertaking actions to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits and promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands. These activities include seminars, nature walks, festivals, launches of new policies, announcement of new Ramsar sites, newspaper articles, radio interviews and wetland rehabilitation.
They purify and replenish our water, and provide the fish and rice that feed billions. Wetlands act as a natural sponge against flooding and drought, and protect our coastlines. They burst with biodiversity, and are a vital means of storing carbon
Unfortunately, these benefits are not widely known. Often viewed as wasteland, 64% of our wetlands have disappeared since 1900.
About World Wetlands Day
Wetlands are found near the sea or inland and can be seasonal – they are water logged only during parts of the year, or perennial. They play a crucial role in the ecosystem by:
Preventing flooding by absorbing water.
Ensuring that the soil provides a unique breeding ground for vegetation that feed fish.
Giving shelter to animals.
Purifying water by removing sediment.
The international theme for World Wetlands Day 2015 is Wetlands for Our Future.
Wetlands offer substantial economic, social and environmental values which, if managed sustainably, will provide benefits to future generations. Raising awareness and understanding of wetland values and services is essential for ensuring their wise use and conservation.
Young people of today will be the future leaders and decision makers of tomorrow, so it’s important they take an interest in environmental issues. For World Wetlands Day 2015, teens and young people, in particular, are being asked to spread the word about wetlands and their vital importance for future life on earth.