The Convention on Wetlands was signed on February 2nd (1971) in the city of Ramsar (Iran) as an international treaty for the sustainable use and conservation of wetlands. The day is celebrated annually and is known as - World Wetlands Day.
World Wetlands Day celebrations began in 1997, and since, it has grown remarkably. It was established to raise global awareness about the value of wetlands for the planet and humanity.
The Importance of Wetlands
Each year, groups of citizens, non-governmental organizations, and government agencies embark to undertake actions towards raising the awareness of the benefits of wetlands, which include:
- Naturally filtering waters by filtering out harmful pollutants
- Serve as buffers on the coastline against flooding and storms
- Provides habitat for many species (biologically diverse ecosystems)
By regulating stream flow, wetlands can reduce the severity of floods and droughts. They help purify the water and provide habitat for different animals and plants. People can also seize the opportunity to enjoy them recreationally but also benefit from wetland resources, such as timber, peat, and fisheries. Erosion control, shoreline stabilization, flood mitigation, groundwater recharge, water storage, storm protection, and retention of pollutants, sediments, nutrients, and carbon are all benefits of wetlands to humanity.
The Cause of Wetland Loss
The primary cause of wetland loss is the increased demand for agricultural land. From 1997 to 2001, the cost of wetland loss has been estimated at more than $2.5 trillion per year, while the loss of mangroves or tidal marshes is $7.2 trillion per year. Regardless of all the benefits wetlands provide to people, they continue to face massive pressures that arise concerning economic benefit.
World Wetlands Day Activities
The activities for the celebration of the WWD include:
- Nature walks
- Wetland rehabilitation
- Video films screening
- Poster and photography exhibitions
- Sampan race
- Art Competitions
- Community cleanup
- Radio and TV interviews
A lot of outreach materials that support country activities (organized in WWD celebration) have been produced since 1998. Guide documents, handouts, fact sheets, posters, and logos are available for free download on the official website of World Wetlands Day. The materials are also available in design files that event organizers can use to adapt and customize to fit their local contexts and languages.
There’s a variety of programs that take place at the national level in many countries worldwide. On this day, new Ramsar sites and other new wetland policies are launched.
In Peru, several wetlands are declared to be of international importance by the Ramsar Convention. The protected areas in Peru are:
- Pantanos de Villa
- The Zona de Humedales de Ventanilla
- Fundo Mamacona
- The Cascajo Wetlands
The areas consist of several habitats abundant in vegetation, and the home to many specific animal and plant communities. Also, there are critical underground sources of water and landscapes of meadows and lakes (some of them are undergoing recoveries due to the contamination of polluted waters caused by nearby settlements.) The sites are known for environmental education, recreation, and public awareness, offering its visitors extraordinary opportunities to connect with nature.
To ensure the survival of people in the region, people need to learn more about the importance of wetlands. Conserving wetlands would make economic options, such as tourism, fishing, and other activities much more productive for countries.