Your Guide To World Wetlands Day

The second of February is marked as World Wetlands Day, and this year's theme is Wetlands and Human Wellbeing
The Deepor Beel in Assam is the state's only Ramsar Site
The Deepor Beel in Assam is the state's only Ramsar Site Shutterstock/cyberswarup

The annual World Wetlands Day is celebrated on February 2nd, and it is observed to raise awareness about the importance of wetlands for humanity and the planet. It was established by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in 1971 to highlight the value of wetlands for biodiversity, water management, and as a source of livelihood for local communities. The theme for World Wetlands Day changes every year and is selected to focus attention on a particular aspect of wetland conservation and management. This year the theme is "Wetlands and Human Wellbeing".

Wetlands Wise

Chilika Lake
Chilika Lake Unsplash

A wetland is an ecosystem characterised by soil saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally. It supports aquatic plants and wildlife. Wetlands play vital roles in water management, carbon gathering, and supporting biodiversity. A lot of migratory birds which fly into India, and which we get rapturous over, land at wetlands across the country. Wetlands include marshes, swamps, and bogs too.

The Lifeline

The focus of this year's campaign highlights the intricate relationship between wetlands and human existence. People derive sustenance, inspiration, and resilience from these thriving ecosystems. Significantly, the 2024 theme emphasizes the profound connection between the health of the world's wetlands and every aspect of human well-being. It urges each individual to appreciate and responsibly care for our wetlands. Every wetland holds significance, and every effort contributes to their preservation.

Listed And Protected

Wetlands need to be protected to secure favourable habitats for many wild animals
Wetlands need to be protected to secure favourable habitats for many wild animalsShutterstock

Some of the important wetlands in India include the Hokersar Wetlands Reserve in Kashmir, the Yamuna Biodiversity Park in New Delhi, the Ropar Wetland in Punjab, the Sarus Crane Conservation Reserve in Uttar Pradesh, the Keoladeo National Park, and the Sambhar Lake in Rajasthan, the Thane Creek in Maharashtra, the Chilika Lake in Odisha, the Bhitarkanika Mangroves in Odisha, the Kumarakom and Vembanad lakes in Kerala, the Kolleru Bird Sanctuary, the Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary, and Pulicat Lake in Andhra Pradesh, the Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu, the East Kolkata Wetlands in West Bengal, and the Deepor Beel Wildlife Sanctuary, the Dehing-Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, Majuli Island, the Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam, and the Keibul Lamjao National Park in Manipur. There are many more which add to the incredible bio-diversity of India.

Curb The Threats

Despite their importance, many wetlands in India are under threat from human activities, such as land reclamation, pollution, and over-extraction of water. It is essential to protect and restore these valuable ecosystems to benefit present and future generations.

Be Responsible: Conserve And Create

Efforts of the local population play a huge role in saving these Ramsar sites
Efforts of the local population play a huge role in saving these Ramsar sitesShutterstock

Here are a few ways by which we can ensure that wetlands remain protected. In all of these, the efforts of the local population play a huge role. Their involvement in spreading conservation awareness locally and to tourists almost ensures the implementation of all rules. 

  • Protect wetlands from development and land reclamation through policies and strict laws. 

  • Control pollution via agricultural runoff, sewage, industrial discharge, etc., and restore the water quality of wetlands.

  • Re-establish the damaged wetlands and reinstate their ecological functions. 

  • Promote sustainable use of wetland resources by adopting best practices in agriculture, fishing, and responsible tourism and promoting sustainable energy production.

  • Implement international agreements such as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, which provides a framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlands.

For more information, check the website and this.   

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