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World Wetlands Day 2024

Focus: GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Conservation of Environment, Conventions regarding conservation of ecology)

Why in News?

World Wetlands Day 2024 celebrated at Sirpur lake, a Ramsar site in Indore.

About World Wetlands Day (WWD):

  • World Wetlands Day is observed on 2nd February every year worldwide to commemorate the signing of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance in 1971.
  • India is a party to the Convention since 1982 and on the eve of WWD 2024, India has increased its tally of Ramsar sites (Wetlands of International Importance) to 80 by designating five more wetlands as Ramsar sites. 
  • The theme of WWD-2024 is ‘Wetlands and Human Wellbeing’ which underscores the critical role wetlands play in enhancing our lives.  
  • Three of these sites, Ankasamudra Bird Conservation Reserve, Aghanashini Estuary and Magadi Kere Conservation Reserve are located in Karnataka whereas two, Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary and Longwood Shola Reserve Forest are in Tamil Nadu.
  • Tamil Nadu continues to have maximum number of Ramsar Sites (16 sites) followed by Uttar Pradesh (10 sites).

What are wetlands?

  • A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently or seasonally, where oxygen-free processes prevail.
  • The primary factor that distinguishes wetlands from other land forms or water bodies is the characteristic vegetation of aquatic plants, adapted to the unique hydric soil.
  • The main wetland types are swamp, marsh, bog, and fen; sub-types include mangrove forest, carr, pocosin, floodplains, mire, vernal pool, sink, and many others.
  • The largest wetlands include the Amazon River basin, the West Siberian Plain, the Pantanal in South America, and the Sundarbans in the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta.

Importance of Wetlands

Wetlands play a number of functions such as:

  • Water storage (flood control)
  • Groundwater replenishment
  • Shoreline stabilisation and storm protection
  • Water purification
  • Reservoirs of biodiversity
  • Pollination
  • Wetland products
  • Cultural values
  • Recreation and tourism
  • Climate change mitigation and adaptation

Wetlands are also considered the most biologically diverse of all ecosystems, serving as home to a wide range of plant and animal life.


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