February 2 marks World Wetlands Day 2009
Tacloban City (February 1) -- World Wetlands Day which is celebrated every February 2, is an annual celebration of the importance of wetlands and how vital it is to conserve them.
The celebration marks the date of the signing of the Convention on Wetlands in 1971.
This year's theme is "Upstream, downstream: wetlands connect us all," which brings to focus river basins and their management.
The Wetlands Day celebration will be a great opportunity for people to look around at their wetlands and its interconnections with the environment around them; how the wetlands benefit the surroundings and how activities throughout the river basin may affect the wetlands.
The theme captures this sense of interconnectivity within the river basin, how the activities upstream affect those downstream.
People can change what happens in the river basin, for better or worse, by what they do to the basin's natural resources. Their behaviour can have an impact on the soil, water, air, plants and animals. And whatever they do will eventually have an effect downstream.
Many activities threaten river basins. Six have been identified by some experts as the most important based on their known impact: dams and infrastructure, excessive water extraction, climate change, invasive species, over-fishing, and pollution.
The occasion calls for the provision of guidance on managing river basins because it is such a vital issue. Good site management can be quickly affected by bad water management at the basin level.
Another dimension to consider, too, is raising the awareness of all people about their river basins. It's not just about planners, it's also about users. Whoever they are – farmer, fisher, factory owner, or family – their activities have an impact on the basin in which they live.
The key focus, therefore, for World Wetlands Day 2009 is to ensure the bringing about of a better understanding of how a river basin functions, of the impact of the users and the abusers. (PIA 8) [top]