With an insightful and informative article in today’s Trinidad Express Newspaper, Rahanna Juman, from the Institute of Marine Affairs, reminds us about the importance of maintaining and promoting our wetlands, since they are significant tools for aiding in climate change and dealing with extreme weather events.
One can also get further information from the Ramsar website by following the Word Wetlands Day link.
For instance, coral reefs such as the Buccoo Reef, are known to act as offshore barriers, with seagrass beds, sequestering and storing carbon which provides mitigation benefits in terms of climate change. This is also the case for mangrove forests and tidal marshes. Yet, the major question is whether or not sufficient measures are being undertaken to ensure that our wetlands such as the Nariva and Caroni Swamp and the Buccoo Reef, are being managed for future sustainability.
However, with this in mind, there are ways that communities, individuals and policymakers can aid in the sustainability of our wetlands which are as follows:(taken from the following Wetlands Sustain Lives How Can We Sustain Them?)
• Find out how the wetlands in your area are being used or overused – and who depends on them. How do wetlands protect your area during extreme events?
• Adopt practices that ensure long- term sustainability of the local wetlands for everyone. Measures might include controlling illegal fishing and dumping, no –take rules, set catch limits and regulate the type of activities by season.
• Clear rubbish from wetlands, and unblock streams and rivers.
Governments can include wetlands in their strategy for coping with disasters. Possible measures:
Designate wetlands in flood- and storm-prone zones as protected areas.
• Restore degraded wetlands that act as protective barriers.
• Work with local stake holders and civil society to promote sustainable agriculture, fisheries and tourism.
• Adopt cross sectoral policies especially in agriculture and water to help protect wetlands.
Organize or join a wetland clean-up.
• Become a Wetland Ambassador advocate for wetlands.
• Use water more sparingly and avoid toxic products that drain into wetlands.
• Participate in actions to conserve and restore wetlands
Also if you’re looking for a fun activity, for you and the family, you can visit a wetland near you and enjoy the simple pleasures that it offers. Persons between the ages of 18-25 worldwide can also take part in the Wetlands Youth Photo Contest, which runs for the period between February 2 to March 2 2017 and offers a chance to win a flight to a Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar Site) courtesy of Star Alliance Biosphere Connections.