World Wetlands Day
- World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on the 2nd of February.
- This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar.
- The theme for 2021 is ‘Inseparable water, wetlands and life’.
It was first celebrated in 1997.
- Wetlands are ecosystems saturated with water, either seasonally or permanently.
- They include
- floodplains and flooded forests,
- coral reefs,
- marine areas no deeper than 6 metres at low tide,
- human-made wetlands such as waste-water treatment ponds and reservoirs.
- Though they cover only around 6% of the Earth’s land surface, 40% of all plant and animal species live or breed in wetlands.
Significance of Wetlands
- Wetlands are a critical part of our natural environment.
- They mitigate floods, protect coastlines and build community resilience to disasters, reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality.
- Wetlands are critical to human and planet life.
- More than 1 billion people depend on them for a living and 40% of the world’s species live and breed in wetlands.
- They are a vital source for food, raw materials, genetic resources for medicines, and hydropower.
- 30% of land-based carbon is stored in peatland.
- They play an important role in transport, tourism and the cultural and spiritual well-being of people.
- Many wetlands are areas of natural beauty and many are important to Aboriginal people.
Ramsar Sites in India
The Ramsar sites are maintained in the Montreux Record to track any major ecological changes that might affect any of the wetland sites positively or in a reverse way.
The Ramsar convention entered into force in India on 1 February 1982.
India currently has 42 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites).
This is the highest in South Asia.