Every year on 2 February , we celebrate World Wetlands Day (WWD) to raise global awareness about the high importance of wetlands for people and our planet. WWD is also an occasion to commemorate the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971.
“Wetlands and water”, the theme of WWD 2021, shines a light on wetlands as a source of fresh water and encourages actions to restore them and stop their destruction. We are facing a growing fresh water crisis that threatens people and our planet. We use more fresh water than nature can replenish, and we are destroying the ecosystem that water and all life depend on the most – wetlands. The 2021 campaign highlights the contribution of wetlands to the quantity and quality of fresh water on our planet. Water and wetlands are connected in an inseparable co-existence that is vital to life, our wellbeing, and the health of our planet.
The role of wetlands
Fresh and saltwater wetlands sustain humanity and nature. They support our social and economic development in a variety of ways:
1- Store and clean water
Wetlands contain most of our fresh water.
They naturally filter pollutants, leaving water we can safely drink.
2- Provide food
Aquaculture is the fastest-growing food production sector, while inland fisheries alone provided 12 million tonnes of fish in 2018.
Rice paddies feed 3.5 billion people annually.
3- Underpin our global economy
Wetlands, the most valuable ecosystem, provide services worth US $47 trillion a year.
More than one billion people rely on wetlands for income.
4- Provide nature a home
40% of the world’s species live and breed in wetlands. Annually, about 200 new fish species are discovered in freshwater wetlands.
Coral reefs are home to 25% of all species.
5- Keep us safe
Wetlands provide protection from floods and storms with each acre of wetland absorbing up to 1.5 million gallons of floodwater.
Wetlands help regulate the climate: peatlands store twice as much carbon as forests, with salt marshes, mangroves, and seagrass beds also holding vast amounts of carbon.
So, what are the solutions to water scarcity?
We can have enough water for nature and us if we:
Stop destroying andstart restoring wetlands.
Do not dam rivers or over-extract from aquifers.
Address pollutionand clean up freshwater sources.
Increase water efficiency and use wetlands wisely.
Integrate water and wetlands into development plans and resource management.
Happy World Wetlands day to you & remember there are far more ways for you to take part and contribute to wetlands & water conservation!
News in national languages:
Bosnia and Herzegovina - Center for Environment or Public Company National Park "Una"
Serbia - Institute for Nature Conservation of Vojvodina Province or Nature Conservation Movement Sremska Mitrovica or Public Enterprise „Vojvodinašume“
Germany - EuroNatur