KARACHI: IUCN Pakistan under the USAID Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Programme funded ‘Saving the Endangered Sea Turtles’ Project organized the World Wetlands Day 2015 at Wetland Centre Sandspit, Karachi on February 02, 2015. The event was organized by IUCN in collaboration with WWF Pakistan. The World Wetlands Day is celebrated globally to mark the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The theme of this year for World Wetland Day is “Wetlands for the Future”.
The event was celebrated with the children from four local schools in the Sandspit area, members from the local fisher community and Moti Mala Women Tanzeem. A speech competition on the importance of wetlands was also held for the school children and prizes were distributed among the wining speakers.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ghulam Qadir Shah, MFF National Coordinator said: wetlands are considered as ‘World’s Supermarkets’ as they provide countless goods and services for the benefit of society such as, livelihoods for the dependent communities, food, fiber, fuel, clean air and clean drinking water, besides acting as habitat for fish, birds, nesting grounds for sea turtles and other biodiversity. He said that degradation of wetlands would directly impact the supply of these good and services.
Highlighting the significance of wetlands, he said that the Sandspit and Hawksbay beaches are amongst the 11 most important turtle nesting grounds in the world, whereas, the mangroves growing along the Pakistan’s coast were a highly important wetland ecosystem in terms of their productivity and their role in protection of coastal towns and villages against the cyclones, sea storms and coastal erosion.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Altaf Hussein Sheikh, Manager Conservation-Sindh WWF-Pakistan stressed that wetlands were an important source of clean water; however, increasing pollution has degraded the quality of our wetlands. He emphasized on concerted efforts by government, NGOs and local communities in conservation of wetland resources.
The others who spoke on the occasion included Mr. Naveed Soomro, Manager Wetland Centre, WWF-P and Dr. Babar Hussain, Assistant Project Coordinator-Sea Turtles/Assistant Symposium Coordinator IUCN Pakistan. They highlighted the need to conserve sea turtles, mangroves and other wetland resources.