Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction – Healthy wetlands help us cope with extreme weather events
World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on the 2nd February. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2nd February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
The theme “Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction” has been selected to raise awareness and to highlight the vital roles of healthy wetlands in reducing the impacts of extreme events such as floods, droughts and cyclones on communities, and in helping to build resilience.
As Martha Rojas (Ramsar Secretary General) states “Wetlands act as natural safeguards against disasters, which makes them important for protecting communities most at risk and vulnerable to the devastating effects of floods, droughts and storm surges. It is a matter of great concern that the frequency of natural hazards worldwide has more than doubled in just 35 years.”
WWT Consulting has long recognised the vital role of wetlands to minimize the damage from disasters; in this line, we have been working on the first Wetland Management Strategy for Colombo Metro. The strategy confirmed the importance of the 19.2 km² of urban wetlands for reducing flood damage, treating water pollution, modifying city air temperatures, removing pollutants from air and providing greenspaces for recreation and education.
At a national level, and to mark the occasion, CIWEM (Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management) and WWT will co-present a new report to Government with guideline recommendations to alleviate flooding for all new-build UK housing developments. Recommendations include sustainable drainage systems (SuDS), which reduce flood risk by slowing and storing floodwater using natural processes.
You can do your bit to help spread the word on why wetlands are essential in reducing the risk of disasters by taking part in the activities organised for today’s meaningful celebration. For more information and downloadable materials please visit World Wetlands Day official website.
Have a wonderful World Wetlands Day!