Monday 24 February, 2020

NGO calls for protections for T&T's wetlands

(Photos courtesy WEPTT)

(Photos courtesy WEPTT)

Conservation group, Wildlife and Environmental Protection of Trinidad and Tobago (WEPTT) is calling for more efforts to protect the country’s wetlands.

Trinidad and Tobago’s wetlands make up only about five percent of the country’s overall terrain, yet they are precious as nurseries for the nation’s food supply.

A 2005 study said more than 50 percent of the country's original wetlands have been lost due to the over-exploitation of resources. 

The group issued the statement for World Wetlands Day, celebrated on February 2, 2020.

WEPTT director Kristopher Rattansingh said wetlands also protect the country from the effects of climate change.

“Our wetlands in Trinidad and Tobago are important in so many ways. Not only do our wetlands provide an essential part to our ecosystem but it provides us with storm protection, carbon absorption, clean water, and it provides many of our citizens with essential livelihoods through tourism, recreation and even as a food resource.”

(Photos courtesy WEPTT)

“Our wetlands are an essential part to the wider ecosystem here in Trinidad and Tobago and that's why three of our larger wetland areas, The Caroni Swamp,The Nariva Swamp and The Buccoo Reef Bon Accord Lagoon Complex are recognized for their importance through their designation as Ramsar sites,” the group said.

“Wetlands protect our shores from wave action and therefore protects us from coastal erosion, they reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and it provides a habitat for animals and plants as it contains a wide range of flora and fauna that are found nowhere else on the islands.”

“One of the most important impacts of this is that wetlands often form nurseries and protected areas for fish to breed and spawn and give the fish essential time to develop and grow before going back out into open oceans and replenishing the stocks of fish,” said Rattansingh.

He encouraged the public to find out more about the nation’s wetlands and ways to help preserve them.

“World Wetland Day also provides another benefit of wetlands by offering an opportunity of education by highlighting the importance and necessity of wetlands and that's why today everyone should make a special effort to head out and visit our own wetland areas to enjoy the serenity of nature and experience the wonder of the plants and animals that call the wetlands their home.”

“There are many tours offered, or a short visit can certainly provide you with an eye opening experience, but if not, we encourage everyone to please take the time and try to learn a bit more about our wetlands and why we should protect them.

“Happy World Wetlands Day Trinidad and Tobago!”

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