Today, February 2nd is World Wetlands Day.
Every year, this day marks the signing of the Ramsar Convention, an “intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources”, in 1971 at Ramsar, Iran.
What is a wetland? A wetland is an area that holds water either permanently or seasonally. The Convention uses a broad definition of the types of wetlands covered in its mission, including lakes and rivers, swamps and marshes, wet grasslands and peatlands, oases, estuaries, deltas and tidal flats, near-shore marine areas, mangroves and coral reefs, and human-made sites such as fish ponds, rice paddies, reservoirs, and salt pans.
For India, the Convention on Wetlands came into force on Feb 1, 1982. Currently 26 sites in India (with a surface area of 689,131 hectares) are designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with 5 located in the south
– Kolleru Lake, Andhra Pradesh
– Ashtamudi Wetland, Sasthamkotta Lake, Vembanad-Kol Wetland, Kerala
– Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary, Tamil Nadu.
(Source: The Annotated Ramsar List, Sep 2012)
2014 is the UN International Year of Family Farming – so the Ramsar Convention has chosen “Wetlands & Agriculture” as the World Wetlands Day theme for 2014. This comic strip suggests the way forward when wetlands come under threat.
Free download courtesy: www.ramsar.org
In Bangalore, wetlands occupy about 5% of the city’s area (Source: Conservation And Management Of Wetland Ecosystems In Karnataka, IISc paper). If you would like to know more about wetlands, please visit the Ramsar Convention website here.