On 2nd February we celebrate world wetlands day, with the 2018 theme being ‘wetlands for a sustainable urban future”, we thought we should tell you what makes them so special!
Studies have shown that by 2050 around 66% of humanity will be living in urban areas. As development rapidly expands and demand for land increases, wetlands and other important ecosystems are susceptible to further degradation. When left alone, wetlands can actually improve the quality of city living; here are 6 things that wetlands do for us:
1. Reduce Flood Risk
Salt marshes and mangroves work as a natural coastal defense system against storm surges and reduce some of the disastrous effects of extreme weather cases. Rivers, ponds, lakes and marshes play their part by acting as giant sponges soaking up excess rainfall.
2. Improve Air Quality
Due to their high water content and luscious plant life, wetlands emit moisture filled air which acts as a natural coolant – especially useful living in the tropics!
3. Restock Drinking Water
Almost all drinking water comes from groundwater aquifers, rainwater and rivers. Wetlands filter the water into aquifers replenishing a vital water source.
4. Contribute to the Economy
In addition to generating tourism, wetlands provide valuable goods for residents such as reeds, grasses, medicinal plants and fruits. They also function as an abundant fishing ground as many species of fish choose to reproduce here.
5. Filter Waste & Purify Water
The abundance of plants and salt rich sediment means that wetlands can absorb toxins such as pesticides and industrial waste, acting as a natural filter.
6. Improve Human Wellbeing
Studies confirm that connecting with nature is good for personal wellbeing and reduces stress. Offering a space for recreation and a high diversity of life means preserving natural green spaces has become more important for city life!
Jessica Lloyd- EFT Biologist