Today, 2 February 2021, is World Wetlands Day and South Africa joins the nations of the world in celebration of the day with this year’s theme of, “Wetlands and Water”.
This year’s focus highlights the role of wetlands as sources of freshwater and presents a call for action towards the protection and restoration of wetlands.
“Despite their significance to human life, the 2018 National Biodiversity Assessment found that wetlands are the most threatened of all South Africa’s ecosystems, with 79% threatened. This report emphasises the role of rivers, wetlands and their catchments as crucial ecological infrastructure for water security and often complementing built infrastructure. Major threats to these freshwater systems are noted over-extraction of water, pollution, invasive alien species, habitat loss, land-use change and climate change,” said Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy.
“Wetlands are highly productive and biologically diverse systems that enhance water quality, control erosion, maintain stream flows, sequestrate carbon, and provide habitats to threatened and endangered species,” said Minister Creecy.