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Wetlands, our defense against the dark days

A remaining wetland within the commercial area in Mandurriao district still hosts a variety of waterbirds such as common sand pipers, little ringed plovers, herons, terns, etc. (photos from ebonph.wordpress.com)

 

Wetlands are very important to human survival.

           Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world. Thus, the destruction of wetlands is very alarming.

           On February 2, 2017, one hundred sixty nine (169) parties from all over the world will be celebrating the annual World Wetlands Day with the theme “Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction.” This is in commemoration of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands or Ramsar Convention on February 2, 1971 in Ramsar City, Iran on the shores of Caspian Sea.

           World Wetlands Day’s main purpose is to raise the people’s awareness of the values and benefits that wetlands can give to humanity. This observance also promotes the conservation and wise use of wetlands internationally. Above all, wetlands are our natural defense against disasters.

           Wetlands are very essential in our environment. They control soil erosion, flood, ground water recharge and discharge, serve as kidneys to other ecosystems, habitats to rare species, tourist spots and can be a source of income. Wetlands aid in helping provide communities quick recovery against floods caused by storms, tsunamis and storm surges. Wetlands protect and improve water quality, store floodwater and maintain surface water flow during droughts.

           The top five wetlands that help us lessen the impact of extreme weather events are Mangroves, Coral Reefs, Rivers and Flood Plains, Inland Deltas and Peatlands.

           Presidential Proclamation No. 74 series of 1999 lets the Filipinos take part in the annual World Wetlands Day.

           At the moment, the Philippines has seven (7) Ramsar sites, namely: Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat & Eco-Tourism Area (Manila), Naujan Lake National Park (Oriental Mindoro), Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (Sulu Sea), Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (Palawan),  Negros Occidental Coastal Wetlands Conservation Area (Negros Occidental), Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary (Cebu) and Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary (Agusan Del Sur).

           In celebrating the World Wetlands Day 2017, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Region (DENR) in Region VI will be conducting the wetland clean-up and  forum at Brgy. Gabuc, Pontevedra, Capiz to raise awareness and encourage local community involvement. The chosen site of the activity is being considered for possible application as wetland of international importance or Ramsar site.

          World Wetlands Day is a chance given to us each year to be aware of how much our wetlands can do for us, of how much will be lost from us if we lose them.

 

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