World wetlands day is an annual event that takes place on February 2 since 1971 marking the date of the adoption of the Convention on wetlands however the first ever celebration was in 1997. The objective of this day is to raise awareness on the benefits of wetlands for humanity and the planet. This event is normally organised by the government agencies, non-governmental organisation and citizens of all levels . This year’s event is organised by the “Ramsar Convention”
What are wetlands?
-A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is inundated with water ,either permanently or seasonally ,where oxygen free process prevails. The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms of water bodies is the characteristic vegetation of aquatic plants adapted to unique hydric soil.
-Ectones providing a transition between dry land and water bodies
2. Ramsar convention definition
– wetlands are areas of marsh, fen, peat-land or water whether natural or artificial , permanent or temporary with water that is static or flowing, fresh brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which a low tide does not exceed six six metres.
3.Regional definitions (per country)
-in United States ,wetlands are defined as those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface /water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support a prevalence of vegetation typically adopted for life in saturated soil conditions . they include swamps, marshes and fogs.
– in Kenya wetlands are defined as areas of land that are permanently or occasionally water logged with fresh saline, brackish, or marine waters including both natural and man-made areas that support characteristic plants and animals.
Types of wetlands
Marine and coastal zone wetlands
Include marine waters,sub tidal aquatic beds,coral reefs, rocky marine shores,sand single or pebble beaches, inter tidal mud, marshes, inter tidal forested wetlands like mangroves swamps, lagoons both saline and freshwater lagoons.
They include permanent rivers and streams, waterfalls, seasonal rivers and streams, inland deltas, riverine flood plains, lakes, permanent fresh water ponds,permanent saline marshes, shrub swamps, fresh water swamp, forest peat lands, alpine and tundra wetlands, fresh water springs, geothermal wetlands, inland subterranean karts wetlands.
Human made wetlands
– water storage areas like reservoirs, hydroelectric dams.
-Ponds e.g farm ponds
-aquaculture ponds like fish ponds
-irrigated lands like rice fields
-seasonally flooded farm lands
-excavations like gravel pits
6 percent of the earths surface is composed of wetlands. It is so sad that wetlands are the most undervalued ecosystems in the world despite the fact that they provide a wide range of ecosystem services to about three(3) billion people who entirely depend on them for their survival.
Importance of wetlands
– Wetlands in high altitudes can contain cloud bursts
– -floodplains, lakes and marshes can absorb flood waters
– -they maintain ground water levels and prevent drought
– They prevent shoreline erosion
– Wetlands like mangroves and coral reefs can reduce wave and cyclone impacts
– They mitigate climate change
– Key biodiversity habitats for other species
– They provide space for recreation and cultural activities
– They help filter waste water
– Fish from the wetlands is am major source of protein
– Wetland plants are harvested for food , fuel and fibre.
Challenges facing wetlands
Industrialisation- water from the wetlands is drained for agricultural activities and commercial development
Pollution- pesticides used in industries run-off from fertilised crops and pesticides. Chemicals used in modern agricultural farming affect the species well being , some species die or fail to reproduce healthy offspring.
Invasive species- this affects the natural balance of the ecosystems because of the severe effects that they pose on natural flora and fauna.
What you can do on world wetlands day
You can participate in celebrating world wetlands day by downloading a variety of outreach materials like logos, posters, fact sheets, handouts and guide documents on www.worldwetlandsday.org on this day, compete in the photo and video contest and most importantly speak to others about the wetlands.
What i will do
I will participate in a massive cleanup and awareness creation event in Ongatata Rongai, Kajiado coUnty Kenya an event t organised by TEAM Environment Kenya , Green Culture Movement and Africa Nazarene University
Did you know?
Wetlands have a variation of names like: marsh, swamp,backwater, bayou,flooded grasslands and savannas, riparian zone, mire,and vernal pool. I thought you should know
2019 Theme:Wetlands and Climate Change!!
Happy world wetlands day 2019.👍👍