As the world’s population continues to grow and more and more people are spending time or living amongst wetlands, it has become more important than ever to bring awareness about keeping these delicate areas protected. The aim of World Wetlands Day, which is celebrated each year on February 2nd, is to do just that. This special day has been designed to raise awareness around the globe regarding the importance that wetlands play not only in the health of the planet but also for its inhabitants. One example of a successful wetlands area is the Sian Ka’an Biosphere which is protected to keep the natural surroundings intact. The Sian Ka’an Village is an amazing place to spend a once-in-a-lifetime vacation thanks in large part to the incredible wetlands atmosphere that surrounds it. Honoring such places on World Wetlands Day is an important way to recognize the immeasurable value that they provide society.
What are some of the ways that wetlands benefit society, you ask? Take a look at just a few examples:
Flooding Is Reduced
Flood waters are readily absorbed by wetlands, which serve as giant sponges within a habitat. Heavy rainfall can be soaked up and stored by rivers, lakes and ponds. In populated areas which are located near mangroves and salt marshes, there is natural protection from storm surges.
Drinking Water is Replenished
The majority of the world’s drinking water is sourced from rainwater, rivers and groundwater aquifers. This crucial water source is improved thanks to wetlands which filter the water that seeps into aquifers. The water supply is further safeguarded by ensuring rivers are protected and keeping damaging runoff to a minimum.
Water Quality is Improved
Wetlands are filled with plentiful plant life and soil that is rich in silt, acting as water filters that are able to absorb some of the harmful substances that threaten water quality such as industrial waste, agricultural pesticides and other toxins. Wetlands in urban areas can also be helpful in treating household sewage.
Better Air Quality
Thanks to their high levels of water and an abundance of plant life, wetlands emit moist air, which helps to keep the air cooler in a natural way. This cooling effect is welcome regardless of whether it occurs in a tropical climate or a dry atmosphere.
When wetlands are protected and used as green spaces in urban settings, they create a welcome outdoor oasis for residents, whether they are enjoying recreational activities or appreciating the rich diversity of animals and plants around them. It is well documented that spending time within nature is a great way to lower stress levels and improve overall health.
Jobs are Created
Since wetlands offer several types of fish an ideal place to spawn and breed, they tend to be sought-after areas for fishing. This, in turn, provide jobs for those who operate fishing boats as well as fishing guides. Grasses and reeds for weaving, fruits and medicinal plants all grow in and around wetlands, all of which can be useful and profitable to local residents. Furthermore, tourists flock to wetlands which creates more jobs for the local economy.
Join in the celebration this February 2nd to honor the Earth’s precious resources with World Wetlands Day!