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World Wetlands Day: ‘Action on Wetlands for People & Nature’

This day also commemorates the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the Caspian Sea's shores.

Shivam Dwivedi
World Wetlands Day 2022
Beautiful View of a Ramsar Site

Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems on the planet, providing a variety of critical services to human society. They are, however, ecologically sensitive and adaptive systems that must be protected. World Wetlands Day, observed annually on 2nd February, aims to raise global awareness about the importance of our wetlands to people & environment.  

This day also commemorates the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the Caspian Sea's shores. 

What are Wetlands? 

  • Wetlands are geographical regions that are periodically or permanently flooded with water. 

  • Wetlands are defined as "areas of marsh, peatland, 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 doesn’t exceed six metres at low tides." 

  • Human-made wetlands include fishponds, rice paddies, and saltpans. 

Significance of Wetlands:  

  • The focus of this year's campaign is a call to action for wetlands. It's a call to invest financial, human, and political capital in preventing the world's wetlands from disappearing and restoring those that have already been degraded.  

  • World Wetlands Day will be observed as a United Nations international day for the first time in 2022, following its adoption by the General Assembly on 30 August 2021 in a resolution co-sponsored by 75 member states 

  • Wetlands would act as a knowledge hub, facilitating communication among State/UT Wetland Authorities, wetland users, managers, researchers, policymakers, and practitioners. 

  • Environmentalists and community protectors gather on this day to celebrate their love of nature. Seminars, exhibitions, and special on-the-ground campaigns are used to accomplish this. 

  • The theme of this year emphasizes the importance of wetlands as a source of freshwater and encourages action to restore and prevent their loss. 

  • They protect our coastlines from wave action, mitigate flood damage, absorb pollutants, and improve water quality, groundwater recharge, and climate change mitigation. 

  • They provide habitat for animals and plants, and many of them are home to a diverse range of life.

Scenario of Wetlands in India 

  • Wetlands covers nearly 4.7 percent of India's land area, covering 15.26 million hectares, and 47 sites have been designated as ‘Wetlands of International Importance’, also known as ‘Ramsar Sites.’ 

  • The Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017, govern wetlands. 

  • The 2010 Rules established a Central Wetland Regulatory Authority, but the 2017 Rules replaced it with state-level bodies and established a National Wetland Committee, which serves as an advisory body. 

  • Backwaters, lagoons, creeks, and estuaries were removed from the definition of "wetlands" in the newer regulations.  

Wetlands provide numerous ecological goods and services, but they are under tremendous stress as a result of rapid urbanization, industrialization, and agricultural intensification, as evidenced by a reduction in their area and a decline in the hydrological, economic, and ecological functions they perform. 

It is good for us to have a day dedicated to celebrating wetlands because it allows us to disseminate awareness about wetlands more effectively!! 

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