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26 February 2013

World Wetlands Day: Stakeholders call for urgent actions to conserve degraded wetlands

Posted in News, Views 1914

Environmental actors in Cameroon have celebrated the 42nd edition of the world wetlands day with a strong call to protect some fast degrading wetlands. The ceremony was organised by the Environmental Science Students Association in the University of Buea, under the theme "World Wetlands and Water Management".

Opening the ceremony, the Head of Department of Environmental Science explained that in the 1600's, over 220 million acres of wetlands existed but unfortunately, less than half of the world's original wetlands remain today. Mr. ...explained that human activities including commercial and residential development, damming, discharge of pollutants, tilling for crop production, logging and mining, road construction, water pollutants, grazing by domestic animals are some activities that have contributed to the degradation of our wetlands.

Speaking during the event, a biologist from the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) explained that wetlands are areas where water covers the soil, or is present either at or near the surface of the soil all year or for varying periods of time during the year. These lands are very important as they save as biodiversity hotspot harboring varieties of aquatic organisms. To continue, he added that one important wetlands of Cameroon is the mangrove swamps along the coastline and from record about 30% of these mangroves have been destroyed between 1980 - 2006. Current trends reveal that this situation is likely to continue and is even worsened given that the human population is fast expanding into the mangroves. This situation warrants a quick conservation action to be taken.

Listening from the second resource person from the university, he pointed out that wetlands play a number of roles in the environment, principally water purification, flood control, shoreline stability and habitat for aquatic organisms. As such we should avoid the degradation of our wetlands.

The day was marked with dramas, songs and poems from the students all passing messages on the importance and needs to conserve our wetlands. The ceremony ended with a word of gratitude from the Head of Department thanking the participants. He concluded that the rate of loss and deterioration of wetlands is accelerating in all regions of the world and the students should carry these messages to the public and sensitize them on the importance and needs to manage our wetland.

By Sigalla Emmanuel