World Wetlands Day is celebrated internationally each year on this day marking the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Convention) in Ramsar, Iran, on the 2nd of February 1971.
World Wetlands Day is often celebrated by taking action to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits. Government agencies, non-government organisations and community groups alike use World Wetlands Day for promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
The Ramsar Convention, is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international co-operation for the conservation of wetlands. The Ramsar Convention was initially made to promote efforts toward the conservation of Waterfowl habitat, however it was soon broadened to encompass the protecting the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value.
There are currently 2,186 Ramsar sites in the world, with a surface total of over 2 million hectares! Western Australia is home to 11 beautiful Ramsar wetlands sites:
- Vasse-Wonnerup System
- Lake Toolibin
- Roebuck Bay
- Peel-Yalgorup System
- Ord River Floodplains
- Muir-Byenup System
- Lakes Argyle and Kununarra
- Lake Warden System
- Forrestdale and Thomsons Lakes
- Eighty Mile Beach
- Becher Point Wetlands
Why do we love wetlands? Let me count the ways..
- Wetlands act as nature’s shock absorbers. Wetlands within river basins act as natural sponges, absorbing rainfall, creating wide surface pools that reduce the impact of flooding in rivers. The same storage capacity also safeguards against drought.
- Let Wetlands help fight climate change. Peatlands alone store more than twice as much carbon as all the forests in the world! In the face of rising sea levels, coastal wetlands reduce the impact of typhoons and tsunamis. They also bind the shoreline and resist increasing levels of erosion.
- Wetlands also filter and clean harmful chemicals and waste from water. Plants from wetlands can help absorb harmful fertilizers and pesticides, as well as heavy metals and toxins from industry.
- Wetlands are bursting with biodiversity. Wetlands are home to more than 100,000 known freshwater species alone, and that number is growing every year. In just 10 years, 272 new species of freshwater fish were discovered in the Amazon.
And that is just the beginning!
Happy World Wetlands Day from Essential Environmental, and love your wetland!