World Wetlands Day 2008 -- India
Celebration of World Wetlands Day at Gujarat Science City
The Gujarat Science City is celebrating the World Wetlands Day on 2nd February 2008 on the theme 'Healthy Wetlands: Healthy People'. The celebration aims to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits and promote the conservation and judicious use of wetlands for human health and development.
The World Wetlands Day is being celebrated since 1997 every year on 2nd February worldwide to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention) in Ramsar, Iran, on 2 February 1971. The Ramsar Convention provides a framework for international cooperation in the conservation and sustainable management of wetlands.
The theme for World Wetlands Day 2008 'Healthy Wetlands: Healthy People' suggests for the strong relationship between healthy functioning wetland ecosystems and human health underlines the importance of management strategies that support both the health of wetland ecosystems and the health of humans. If the wetlands areas will not be properly maintained and managed, it will create many problems including wetland-related diseases. More than 3 million people have been suffered from wetland related diseases every year.
Healthy wetlands are good for delivering quality ecosystem services for the benefit of people, while at the same time meeting the demands for water for growing crops, supplying energy and responding to the needs of industry. What is important is to value correctly the ecosystem services that intact, healthy wetlands supply when decisions on the human uses of available water are made.
Gujarat has more than 1,000 wetlands of which nearly 440 are coastal and around 390 are inland, including several small and big reservoirs. The state has remarkable bio-diversity and therefore provides a rich habitat for a fascinating variety of birds. There are seven wetlands in Gujarat including the recently six declared, accorded the status of Wetlands of National Importance bringing them at par with reserves like Chilka lake in Orissa. These includes: Nalsarovar (Ahmedabad), Little Rann, Greater Rann, Pariyej (Anand), Wadhwana (Vadodara), Thol (Mehsana) and Khijadia (Jamnagar).
Wetlands are among the least protected ecosystems in developing countries, and India is particularly vulnerable to their degradation and loss. There are thousands of lakes, ponds, marshes, lagoons, estuaries, backwaters and mangrove swamps that are vital to the country's water needs, food production and biodiversity, but environmental policy has largely failed to acknowledge their contribution.
Gujarat Science City is taking a bold step by bringing awareness among the school and college students and sensitizing the visitors about our rich biodiversity and appreciation of states genetic resources and environment and inspires commitment to preserve its existence. The movement will no doubt give the human face to environmental issues; empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development; promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues; and advocate partnership, which will ensure for a safer and more prosperous future.
Gujarat Science City in collaboration with Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India has established 10 DNA Clubs Schools in ten eco-regions of the state. The DNA Club schools are organizing activities in their nearest wetlands in their respective regions. The Science City organizes an illustrative poster exhibition on "Healthy Wetlands: healthy People", screening of video films and slide shows on the above theme. School students are encouraged to participate in the sit and draw and quiz competition on the above theme to be held on this day between 11.00 hrs to 13.00 hrs (5 16 years age group). There is no registration fee.
Lets work together to spread the awareness to make our wetlands healthy and wealthy for the betterment of our environment and society.
Dr. Narottam Sahoo
Gujarat Science City
Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India