On February 2nd every year, World Wetlands Day is celebrated to raise global understanding of the vital role of wetlands for the people and the planet. This day also commemorates the Convention on Wetlands also known as the Ramsar Convention, which was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the Caspian Sea coast in 1971.
Ecosystems in which water is the main element influencing the environment and the associated Flora and fauna such as a wide range of freshwater, marine, and coastal ecosystems are included in the definition of wetlands, including all lakes, rivers, marshes, swamps, oases, peatlands, estuaries, deltas, tidal flats, mangroves, coral reefs, and man-made sites like fishponds, rice paddies, reservoirs, and saltpans are considered under wetlands.
World Wetland Day 2024 focuses on ‘Wetlands and Human Wellbeing’, to recognize the critical importance of wetlands to people and nature while emphasising the value of wetland ecosystems and their numerous benefits and services, including contributions to sustainable development and human wellbeing. It intends to highlight how healthy wetlands equate to our well-being: physical, mental, and environmental.
We have depended on wetlands for centuries yet they are among the ecosystems with the highest rates of decline disappearing three times faster than forests. 35% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1970 within a mere 50 years of passing. Adverse impacts of climate change, invasive species, anthropogenic activities such as pollution mainly by plastics and polythene, unsustainable agricultural practices and construction processes, overfishing and overexploitation of resources have led to the decline of these rich ecosystems.
Dr Musonda Mumba, Secretary General of the Convention on Wetlands encourages the world to make conscious choices to stop polluting wetlands, join the global effort to conserve and Sustainably manage wetlands and take part in wetland restoration efforts locally for the World Wetlands Day 2024.