22 Jan 2008

SPREP to mark World Wetlands Day

4:45 pm on 22 January 2008

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme says there's a strong relationship between wetlands and human health.

This comes as February 2nd will be marked as World Wetlands Day when governments and organisations in many nations will raise awareness of the benefits of wetlands.

In the region, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Marshall Islands, Palau and Samoa have signed the convention on wetland conservation, known as Ramsar.

The Secretariat's associate Ramsar officer, Vainuupo Jungblut, says this year's celebrations will focus on the positives of maintaining the wetlands.

"If countries have healthy wetlands, they have spin-off effects, such as the provision of food, clean water, etc. You have a direct negative impact of not purely maintaining wetlands, such as floods, water related diseases, water pollution. What is implied in this theme is to emphasise a strong relationship between healthy functioning wetlands and human health."

Vainuupo Jungblut says mangroves and coral reefs are the most critical wetlands in the region.