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World Wetlands Day 2020 is being celebrated all over the world. There were celebrations in India too. Voice of Environment (A Youth Environmental Organization) organized an event ‘Wetland Day for Biodiversity’ to commemorate this year’s World Wetlands Day 2020 on February 2nd, Sunday at one of the Ramsar Sites of ‘Wetlands of International Importance’ in Guwahati.

The Voice of Environment hosted one day programme in collaboration with Environment & Forest Department, Assam, Department of Environmenal Science, Royal Global University, Guwahati and Colours of North-Eastern India. The programme commenced with an interactive dialogue on wetlands & biodiversity & thereafter followed by a series of events having a community walk conducted and led by Partha Sarathi Dhar and Bhaskar Hazarika. Introductory speech on Wetland and Biodiversity was given by Dr. Ritusmita Goswami and Dr. Queen Sarma.

Besides photo competition, there was distribution of information brochures on biodiversity subjects, a brief session of discussion with students & locals near to Deepor Beel regarding its cleanliness and ecological importance which was led by Nalinakshya Chamuah from IIE Guwahati followed by a signature campaign led by Environmentalist Moharana Choudhury to end up a productive day at Deepar Beel, the lifeline of the Smart City Guwahati.

During the event student representatives as Shuvendhu Khan and Aref Abdal from TISS Guwahati led the bird watching session. Kumar Deepak, Environment Officer, United Nations Development Programme in a message stated, “Assam Government should work on strengthening wetlands governance in the State. Wetlands provide a wide range of natural capital flow in terms ecosystem services for the life & livelihood of people &
community. The Commitment of Parties to the Ramsar Convention designating Ramsar sites, wetlands of International importance to conserve & wisely use all their wetlands is critical in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”

During the event, Senior Wildlife Warden P.K Saharia, AFS, G.N Borah, AFS Range Forest Officer Deepor Beel under the Guawhati Wildlife Division along with other forest department officials were present. They discussed Deepor Beel and its biodiversity aspect and appreciated the initiative by the team.

Every year, February 2 is celebrated as ‘World Wetlands Day’ to raise international awareness about the significant role of wetlands for people & our planet. This day earmarks the date of adoption of Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance’ in 1971. Currently, India has 37 Ramsar designated wetlands of international importance. This year’s theme for the World Wetlands Day is ‘Wetlands & Biodiversity’.

Wetlands are pertinent for our well-being, inclusive economic growth & climate mitigation & adaptation. They are the biggest source of fresh water for our consumption, agriculture & maintaining our groundwater table by naturally recharging & filtering it. They act as a natural water sink. They are the biggest terrestrial ecosystem for carbon sequestration & act as a natural systematic carbon sink system. They act as an ‘Ecosystem System Based Disaster Risk Reduction’ structure protecting shores & providing
cities & settlements a safe & climate resilient prospect. They provide sustainable livelihoods for the community welfare & offer a healthy ecosystem for exploring multiple ecosystem services & benefits in
parallel to abundant biodiversity such ecological systems support.

These low cost EcoDRR structure provide not only community resilience against water-related risks but enabling communities to better adapt to climate change & provide multiple ecosystem services. Wetlands serve as upstream retention basins protecting downstream cities from flood risk. Voice of Environment shall submit a detailed pledge paper to the State Government for sending proposal to Ramsar Committee for designating Sonbeel as a Ramsar Site.

“Our Pledge Paper shall cover an integrated plan of capacity building to create community, schools, universities, etc. informed about the comprehensive role of wetlands in creating a water surplus future. Voice of Environment will organize a series of programmes this month to raise voice about the role of Deepar Beel for a smart & sustainable Guwahati City,” said the environmentalist.

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About Ushi Fatma

Author at greenubuntu.com. I am a freelance journalist, environment activist, fashion blogger, and a short film and documentary maker. My association with Taru Mitra, an organisation working hard for the environment in India, taught me the value of nature preservation. I want to make the world a better place for future generations. Being a mother, I know how important it is to do that. I love nature, art and creativity.