- Only 3% of the world’s water is fresh, and most of that is frozen. Yet every human needs 20-50 litres of water a day for basic drinking, cooking and cleaning. Wetlands provide that water. They also help replenish groundwater aquifers;
- Wetlands feed humanity. 70% of all fresh water extracted globally is used for crop irrigation;
- Wetlands are bursting with biodiversity. They are home to more than 100,000 known freshwater species alone, and that number is growing every year.
On February 2, the UN celebrated World Wetlands Day. This special day, celebrated every year, marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar) on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar. The treaty is particularly important as it provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.
As part of this commermoration event, the Ramsar Secretariat has provided materials so that government agencies, non-governmental organizations, conservation organizations, and groups of citizens can help raise public awareness about the importance and value of wetlands.
Christopher Biggs, the Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention summarized the importance of the 2015 theme “Wetlands for our Future” stressing that it aims “to highlight the choices ahead of us all, considering the all-too-real threat to wetlands around the world”. He pointed out that “latest research indicates that over 64% of the world’s wetlands have been destroyed since 1900”. Laying bare the root of the problem he explained that ”wetlands are often viewed as wasteland; something to be drained, filled and converted to other purposes”.
To find out more about World Wetlands Day and how to educate others about the importance of wetlands generally then please click here for information sheets.
In the meantime, here are some easy tips to help protect the environment on a daily basis:
- Buy sustainably raised or caught seafood, organic produce and meat;
- Use reusable bags at the grocery store;
- Take shorter showers
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