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Wetlands are the way to desirable ecosystem for all

by kenya-tribune

The world celebrates World Wetlands Day on February 2 every year. This day marks the date of the Convention on Wetlands, in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971. This year’s theme is “It’s time for wetlands restoration”.

Wetlands play various vital roles in ensuring the earth’s sustainability. These are land areas that are saturated or flooded with water, seasonally or permanently. They nourish both domestic livestock and wild animals, thereby limiting starvation. 

Water bodies are also essential for the thriving of divergent plant species, hence playing a key role in ensuring the wellness of the earth’s hosts, bearing in mind that plants are primarily in the food chain sequence. 

However, human activity has, to a large extent, had a serious adverse impact on the environment. Uncouth practices such as deforestation have hampered the existence of many water bodies in various places.

Trees act as water catchment zones; therefore, cutting them down leads to the drying up of wetlands. Deforestation leads to desertification, which translates to a strain of hosts in acquiring water. Some may die in the process, especially in semi-arid regions and deserts.

According to UNEP, wetlands ecological services contribute $47.4 trillion annually to human health, happiness and security. The statistics reveal that wetlands have an enormous impact on the world. This calls for collaboration in safeguarding the existence of available wetlands and intensifying the efforts for their restoration.

Harmful activities

Harmful activities like unsustainable mining methods should be regulated or stopped altogether. For instance, the open-cast mining approach leads to land degradation, consequently causing water levels on the earth’s surface to drop. 

Dumping of chemicals on water sources leads to pollution, making it unsafe for domestic use. Also, agricultural practices, especially the use of inorganic fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides, contribute to water poisoning, posing a health threat to consumers. In addition, farmers need to employ irrigation methods that limit wastage.

Climate change is a threat not only to wetlands but also to our planet. Increasing temperatures catalyse drought as the available water evaporates.

This calls for the adoption of production means that emit fewer greenhouse gases. Let’s join efforts in ensuring there is adequate, safe water through proper use and management. Concerned stakeholders have to stand up and protect saturated regions from misuse and wastage. 

The government has to be at the forefront of creating public awareness of the importance of wetlands. The international community, through organisations such as the United Nations, European Union and African Union, should steer the conversation on safeguarding our waters. 

All have the responsibility of championing habitable surroundings. Water is life; let’s conserve it. 

Mr Mbithi is a communication and journalism student at Rongo University. [email protected]

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