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World Wetlands Day which is celebrated annually on 2 February, aims at raising global awareness about the role of wetlands for people and our planets. This day also marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar. In fact 2 February 2023 is the first year that World Wetlands Day will be observed as a United Nations international day. This was adopted following the General Assembly on 30 August 2021 in a resolution co-sponsored by 75 member states.
What is a Wetland?
Wetlands are areas where water covers the soil, or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year, including during the growing season. Wetlands may support both aquatic and terrestrial species. They are of two types: coastal or tidal wetlands and inland or non-tidal wetlands. Marshes, swamps, bogs, fens, mangroves etc. are all examples of wetlands. Wetlands work like giant sponges where they store water and then slowly release it, and this helps to deal with dry seasons with little rainfall. Wetlands’ highly developed root systems hold the soil in place and filter pollutants, thus improving the water quality. Just as tropical rainforests are called the “lungs of the planet”, wetlands are considered as “kidneys of the earth” as they clean the environment of pollutants. Wetlands are extremely valuable as they provide flood protection, shoreline erosion control, opportunities for recreation and aesthetic appreciation and natural products for our use at no cost. Hence it is incumbent that we go all out in protecting this precious piece of the ecosystem.
History of World Wetlands Day
Mr Eskander Firouz, Director of Iran’s Game and Fish Department, held a conference at the Caspian seaside resort of Ramsar, Iran on 2 February, 1971 where The “Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat” was agreed by representatives of 18 nations meeting in Ramsar, Iran. The treaty was signed on 3 February 1971. It is also known as the Convention on Wetlands. World Wetlands Day, being celebrated since 1997, aims at creating awareness about the need of conserving this vital part of the nature.
World Wetlands Day Theme of 2023
The theme for the 2023 edition of the day is ‘Wetlands Restoration‘. This theme highlights the importance of actions that should be taken to ensure that the wetlands are conserved and sustainably used. It’s an appeal to invest financial, human and political capital to save the world’s wetlands from disappearing and to restore those we have degraded. Every year the Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention provides useful materials relating to the theme like official posters, banners, and social media content. The official website also shares a directory of events, and news stories relating to the theme.
How to Observe Wetlands Day?
It is imperative upon every government, organizations and individuals to adopt measures to conserve our wetlands. Over a third of the planet’s wetlands have disappeared since 1971 and if this alarming rate continues, we’ll be completely deprived of wetlands in just a few years. Several steps and actions can be put forward to save the Wetlands. Let’s have a look at a few of those:
- Organize a conference or conduct seminars to raise public awareness.
- Invite wetland experts to explain the role of wetlands for climate change to the people of your locality.
- Hold an exhibition to present and showcase arts or photographs about wetlands.
- Organize a community walk, bike or run for to raise awareness about wetlands.
- Plan a wetland clean-up day and encourage grown ups and children to participate.
- Organize a photo or essay competition to draw attention about wetlands.
- Visit a Wetland of international importance in your state or country.
It is the lack of community awareness on the value and benefits of wetlands that leads to their transformation and destruction by the action of humans. Hence it is high time that we roll up our sleeves, get into action and work towards achieving the goal of wetland conservation.
World Wetlands Day 2023 Quiz
When was World Wetlands Day first celebrated?
(a) 2 February, 1971
(b) 5 February, 1991
(c) 1 February, 1982
Ans: (a) 2 February, 1971
How many Ramsar recognized wetland sites are there in the world?
Ans: (b) 2414
Which city was constructed on a wetland?
Ans: (c) Bayawan
How many Ramsar recognized wetland sites are there in India?
Ans: (b) 47
World Wetlands Day is celebrated on _____________.
(a) 2nd February
(b) 14th February
(c) 24th February
Ans: (a) 2nd February
_______________________ is India’s largest wetland.
(a) Chilka Wetland
(b) Vembanad Kol Wetland
(c) Sunderbans Wetland
Ans: (c) Sunderbans Wetland
_____________________ is the smallest wetland in India.
(a) Renuka Wetland
(b) Vembanad Wetland
(c) Chilka Wetland
Ans: (a) Renuka Wetland
Which is the world’s largest wetland?
(b) The Pantanal
(c) Mekong Delta
Ans: (b) The Pantanal