City dwellers with an affinity for the water element may descend upon the closest wetlands in their vicinity to reconnect to nature. World Wetlands Day, which falls on 2 February this year, seeks to celebrate wetlands as “prized land, not wasteland”.
World Wetlands Day aims to help raise public awareness about the importance and value of wetlands. On the day, participating wetlands throughout the world will hold special events to celebrate wetlands.
Wetlands can be found in urban areas across the world – in and around cities and their suburbs. Wetlands include rivers and their food plains, lakes, and swamps as well as coastal variants such as salt marshes, mangroves and coral reefs.
Anyone who has visited their local wetlands can account for the harmony and balance they bring, even and especially when wetlands are found in the centre of the hubbub of a city.
About four billion people live in urban areas today. As cities expand and demand for land increases, the tendency is to encroach on wetlands, leaving them degraded, filled in and built upon. Yet when left intact or restored, urban wetlands make cities liveable.
Wetlands reduce flooding; replenish drinking water; filter waste and improve water quality; improve urban air quality; promote people’s wellbeing; and enable people to earn a living from fishing for instance.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea