02/02/15

02/02/2015 : Minister Humphreys encourages young people to become more environmentally aware on World Wetlands Day

Monday, 2nd February 2015—The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, is encouraging young people to become more environmentally aware on World Wetlands Day, a global initiative aimed at raising awareness about the importance of protecting our wetlands. A month-long Global Photo Contest open to 15-24 year olds starts today aimed at encouraging young people to visit their local wetland.

Wetlands are land areas that are saturated or flooded with water either permanently or seasonally, including marshes, ponds, lakes, fens, rivers, floodplains, and swamps. It is estimated that 64% of wetlands have been lost in the last century. Wetlands purify and replenish our water, act as a natural sponge against flooding and drought, and protect our coastlines.

The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, commonly known as the Ramsar Convention, is a global intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national

action and international cooperation for the conservation of wetlands. The theme of this year’s World Wetland Day is ‘Wetlands for our Future’ and aims to encourage teens and young people to have a growing interest in environmental issues and a strong belief in their own ability to make a difference.

Speaking today Minister Humphreys said:

“Our natural heritage is one of our greatest assets and it should be protected for everyone’s benefit.  The management and preservation of Ireland’s wetlands is a complex issue, which will require continuing engagement from people across Ireland. I am pleased that this year’s World Wetlands Day is placing an emphasis on our youth and is encouraging our young people to think about what they can do to preserve our wetlands.”

The Ramsar Convention is inviting young people to make an online pledge for Wetlands by registering a personal action to help preserve wetlands, such as pledging to clean up a wetland, educate others on their benefits or help conserve water.

Shirley Clerkin, Chair of the Irish Ramsar Wetland Committee, said:

“We must work to secure the future of our wetlands in Ireland, as we cannot achieve a sustainable environment for all without healthy wetlands.  An ecosystem services evaluation for County Monaghan wetlands has found that these wetlands are worth between €500 per year for a small lake site and €135,500 per year for the blanket bog on Sliabh Beagh.  These case study site valuations include flood control, water quality and quantity, recreation, aesthetics, biodiversity and carbon sequestration services. The replacement cost of wetlands is simply enormous.  It makes economic and ecological sense to preserve them.”

ENDS

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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