World Wetlands Day in India
World Wetlands Day
Today, 2nd February 2007, is being celebrated as World Wetlands Day. The celebration aims to raise public awareness of wetland values and benefits and promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
The World Wetlands Day has been 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 2007 is 'Fish for Tomorrow', is one that touches almost all of us, wherever we live and whatever we do. One billion people rely on fish and shellfish as their main or even sole source of protein and majority of people include fish as part of their regular diet. Yet the current state of the world's fisheries is a matter of great concern. Most of our commercially important marine fisheries and many of our inland stocks are currently being over fished or are being fished at their biological limits, yet the demand for fish will continue to grow as the global population increases. The majority of our fishers are small-scale fishers: their livelihoods depend on making sure that there will be fish for tomorrow.
The World Wetlands Day will be an opportunity for you to look at local and national fisheries issues, and to make that vital link between healthy, well-managed coastal and inland wetlands and the long-term sustainability of your fisheries.
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 our environmental policy has largely failed to acknowledge their contribution.
Gujarat Science City is taking a bold step by bringing awareness and sensitizing the visitors about our rich biodiversity and appreciation of states genetic resources and environment and inspires commitment to preserve its existence. The Science City organizes an illustrative poster exhibition on "Exploring Wetlands of Gujarat", screening of video films and slide shows on the above theme.
Wetlands can protect the areas adjoining them from storms, floods, and even tidal damage. Lets work together to conserve the precious wetlands in our locality.
With warm regards.
D. B. Mehta
GUJARAT SCIENCE CITY
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