On World Wetlands Day 2017 care for the wetlands and do what you can

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Wetlands are one of the most important part of the ecosystem as they provide some of the most important services in environment to humans including fresh water supply, flood control, and climate change mitigation. These bodies are also important for the plant and animal kingdom as they provide them with much required food and water.

Sadly, wetlands aren’t facing the best of their times currently with statistics indicating that there has been a massive decline in wetlands since the 1900. Reports indicate at least 64 per cent of them have disappeared since 1900. This is where we are needed for it is our duty to protect and preserve wetlands that sustain lives, act as a natural safeguard against disasters as well as help us cope with extreme weather events.

Wetlands, which are essential for both life and sustainability of the world’s economies, need to be taken care of at utmost level. At communities level practices that ensure long-term sustainability of the local wetlands should be adopted. Some of these practices could be to find out whether the wetlands in your area are being used or overused, controlling illegal fishing and dumping, clear rubbish from wetlands, unblock streams and rivers, etc.

At an individual level you can either organise or join a wetland clean-up activity. You can ensure that you and your family members use water carefully and avoid toxic products from entering into wetlands.

Policy-makers on the other hand should adopt strategies that support to protect and conserve wetlands. They should also work with local stake holders and NGOs to promote sustainable management of agriculture and wetlands.

World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February, marking the date in 1971 when the Convention on Wetlands, known as the Ramsar Convention, was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar. Each year a theme is selected to focus attention and help raise public awareness about the value of wetlands. The theme for this year’s “Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction” is selected to raise awareness and to highlight the vital role of healthy wetlands in reducing the impacts of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and cyclones on communities, and in helping to build resilience.

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