World wetlands day

Written by
Dr Ayub Macharia

This day is celebrated every 2nd February and marks the signing of the convention on wetlands of international importance. The signing was done on 2nd February 1971 in Ramsar city in Iran (hence it is called the Ramsar convection). By June 2002, 132 countries had already ratified the convention including Kenya (1994). Wetlands refer to areas that are seasonally or permanently flooded with saline, brackish, or freshwater and supports characteristics plants and animals. These include rivers, shallow lakes, swamps, marshes, ocean edges, man made dams and rice fields. Each year, large areas of Kenyan wetlands are lost through conversion to other uses.

 Wetlands have important physical, biological, social, cultural, economic and political values. Some of the values include groundwater recharge, flood control, water purification, and food, grazing areas, recreation and tourism. Wetlands are threatened by over- harvesting of their products, destruction of vegetation in catchments areas, unpredictable dry climate, drainage for agriculture and other uses, pollution, overgrazing and alien species.                

Suggested activities

  • Visit local wetlands. List the benefits of wetlands to the people living near   them.
  • Identify and list the observable threats to the wetlands. A teacher can prepare a quiz on wetlands.
  • Plan and implement activities to address the threats to your local wetlands such as tree planting removing waterweeds, collect and identify the source of the wetlands pollutants.
  • Develop posters and models about the wetlands.
  • Compose poems, songs and drama on wetlands.
  • Look for animals and plants in wetlands. Identify and count them and present your results using tables, pie charts and graphs.
  • Adapt a wetland and plan long- term activities to conserve it.
  • Write an essay or summary notes on how you celebrated the world wetlands day. Publicise your success on this blog.

For further Information, contact:

  1. National Museums of Kenya
  2. Kenya Wildlife Service
  3. National Environment Management Authority
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