Posted on January 15, 2024
Wetlands are dynamic aquatic ecosystem found all over the world. It is an area of land that is saturated with waters either permanently or seasonally .It can be fresh water, brackish, or saline.
Wetlands can be thought of as biological supermarkets that provide great volume of food which attract many animal species. These animals use wetlands for part of, or all their lifecycle. It provides values that no other ecosystem can. These include: natural water quality improvement, flood protection, shoreline, and erosion control, opportunities for recreation and aesthetic appreciation and natural products for our use at no cost.
Wetlands contribute immensely to tackling climate change challenges by enhancing the adaptation and resilience capacity of the ecosystems; provide nature-based climate solutions and address socio-economic challenges such as water pollution, erosion, food security and human health, and disaster risk management by restoring water catchments.
Part of the importance of wetlands are capturing and storing rain water; replenishing ground water aquifers; regulating water quantity and supply by releasing water at the right time to the right place in the right amounts; improving water quality by removing and absorbing pollutants. Wetlands in Nigeria are highly valuable as they contain a variety of reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and bird’s species.
Wetlands sustain life and keep us healthy. Healthy watersheds provide natural, safe drinking water and support food production. Wetlands give us much of the fish we eat and are used in cultivating rice for 3.5 billion people globally. Wetlands are important for biodiversity as 40% of the world’s species live in wetlands, with new fish species discovered in fresh water wetlands annually.
In considering the economic importance of wetlands, they play a vital role in addressing socio-economic challenges through multi-sectoral job creation for people in sectors such as forestry, fisheries, agriculture, and tourism.
Unfortunately, these rich ecosystems are being threatened and lost at an alarming rate due to population pressure ;poverty; deforestation intensive cultivation; oil and gas exploration, industrial waste pollution; coastal and marine erosion; overgrazing as well as climate change.
Lagos State, the land of aquatic splendor, has wetlands all over its 5 divisions of the State. Recently, there has been an allegation that some people are making efforts to clear off the Magodo wetlands. NCF considers this as insensitive and lack of understanding of the important role that wetlands play and we call on the agency of government responsible for protecting the wetlands to swing into action to stop the destruction.
We therefore make an appeal to the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources as an arm of State Government with professional and experienced individuals in conservation and ecology to advice the concerned on the danger inherent in destroying or degrading wetlands in our environment.
Each year, World Wetlands Day is commemorated on 2ndFebruary to harp on the vital role of wetlands for people and our planet, with the need to preserve and conserve. Protecting wetlands can protect our safety and welfare. The theme this year is “Wetland Restoration “ highlights the urgent need to prioritize wetland restoration, an appeal to invest financial, human, and political capital to save the world’s wetlands from disappearing and to restore degraded portions.
“Urgent intervention such as awareness creation, habitat restoration, and livelihood improvement are part of the solutions to stop further degradation of wetlands and help in their restoration.”–Dr.Joseph Onoja, Director General of NCF noted.
NCF has been playing a leading role in mobilizing support, attracting attention, and influencing decisions in favor of wetlands protection and conservation in Nigeria.
The foundation continues to intensify drastic efforts in ensuring that wetlands are not being considered as waste land.