Wetlands are regions where water covers the soil for an extended period of time. The prolonged presence of water produces ideal conditions for the growth of highly adapted plants and species. They play a critical role in maintaining natural cycles and supporting a wide range of biodiversity. They purify and filter waste from the landscape and regulate water and replenish our water. For many, wetlands are the primary sources of fresh water, natural buffers against floods and droughts. Most importantly, wetlands minimize the impacts of climate change.
Date and History
Because of the many benefits we get from wetlands, World Wetlands Day is observed on February 2 every year to raise awareness about their importance and the need to preserve them. On this day, The Convention on Wetlands was adopted in 1971.
This year is especially significant as World Wetlands Day 2022 will be observed as a United Nations international day for the first time. On August 30 last year, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to mark the day.
On the occasion, Inger Andersen, the executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), also shared a message.
While a lot of stress is laid on protecting forests, called the lungs of the Earth, not many know how wetlands contribute to maintaining a healthy ecosystem. For instance, the world is losing wetlands three times faster than forests and nearly 90 per cent of the wetlands have been degraded in the past 300 years or so. There is a need to rapidly increase awareness about them to help preserve and restore them. World Wetlands Day helps achieve that.
The theme of World Wetlands Day this year is ‘Wetlands Action for People and Nature’. It aims to highlight the importance of actions to conserve and sustain wetlands.