World Wetlands Day 2010 -- India


Caring for Wetlands: an answer to Climate Change
Gujarat Science City celebrates World Wetlands Day

Caring about climate change means caring about wetlands...means caring about biodiversity.

The Gujarat Science City is celebrating the World Wetlands Day on 2nd February 2010 on the theme "Caring for Wetlands: an answer to Climate Change".The celebration will continue for 3rd Feb 2010 and aims to raise public awareness of wetlands value and benefit 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 is looking at these two key areas, biodiversity loss and climate change, exploring their relationship and what it all means for wetlands and people.

The theme also captures this sense of how interconnected we all are within the biosphere. 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 Science City has organized several activities on Wetlands, Climate Change and Biodiversity to mark the celebration of the World Wetlands Day. An illustrative poster exhibition, screening of video films and slide shows on wetlands and its environmental significance have been organized for the students and visitors. School students (5 – 16 years age group) are encouraged to participate in the poster painting and quiz competition on the wetlands theme to be held on this day between 12.00 hrs to 16.00 hrs). There is no registration fee, meritorious students will be rewarded with prizes and certificates.

On the eve of the World Wetlands Day, the DNA Club schools of Valsad, Surat, Vadodara, Godhra, Dehgam, Amreli, Surendranagar, Junagadh, Dantiwada, and Bhuj are visiting their nearest wetlands and organizing activities on the theme. DNA Clubs activities are being coordinated by the Gujarat Science City throughout the year, in collaboration with Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India. A special CD has been designed to communicating the wetland message in public and society.

Gujarat Science City is also developing a unique wetlands park in its sprawling campus over an area of 8.5 hectares to bring the art and science of the wetlands to the classroom curriculum.

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, working under the aegis of the Department of Science & Technology, Govt of Gujarat, is taking a bold step in designing exciting hands-on activities and minds-on exposure in environment education integrating with awareness generation, knowledge validation, and building of skills related to understanding our world.

The activities are found to be an ideal way to integrate classroom curricula, stimulate the academic and social growth of young people, and promote the conservation of the natural environment and aims to provide opportunities to be actively involved in restoring, preserving, and protecting the environment.

On the World Wetlands Day, we invite one and all to work together to spread the awareness to make our wetlands healthy and wealthy for the peace and prosperity in our society.

With warm regards.

Narottam Sahoo 

Dr Narottam Sahoo
Sr Scientist
Gujarat Council of Science City
Sola - Santej Road, Ahmedabad 380 060

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