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2 February: World Wetlands Day

Every February 2 is “World Wetlands Day”, held to commemorate the signing of the Ramsar Convention, to prevent and restrain the loss of wetlands around the world.

Wetlands are marshes, lowlands, wet areas, peat, water sources, both naturally occurring and man-made. It can be permanent or temporary waterlogging or flooding, sources of still water and flowing, fresh water, brackish water and brine, including coastal areas and places in the sea with not over 6 meters depth when the water level drops to the lowest.

The importance of wetlands:

Wetland are sources of fresh water and brine; help sustain nature and humanity including supporting economic and social development by providing a variety of services:

1. It is a source for storing and producing clean water

Wetlands are the largest source of the world's fresh water. Wetlands naturally filter out pollutants and provide drinkable clean water.

2. It is a source of food production

Agriculture is the fastest growing food production sector including freshwater fisheries, which can produce up to 12 million tons of fish in 2018. Each year, rice fields can feed 3.5 billion people worldwide.

3. Support the world economy

Wetlands are the most valuable ecosystem providing services worth 1,400 trillion baht per year. More than 1 billion people depend on wetlands for income

4. It is a place of residence

40 percent of the world's species live and breed in wetlands each year, around 200 new fish species discovered in freshwater wetlands. Coral reefs are home to 25 percent of species.

5. Provide safety

Wetlands act as protection against floods and rainstorms. Each 1,600 sq.m of land can absorb up to 2.5 million liters of flood water.

Wetlands is also help regulate the climate. Peat forests can store twice as much carbon as the world's forests. Salt marshes, mangrove forests, and seagrass beds also help sequester enormous amounts of carbon.

Thailand became a party to the Wetlands Convention No. 110 on May 13, 1998, by proposing the "Khuan Khi Sian Swamp" in the Talay Noi non-hunting area, Phatthalung province. It has been registered as Thailand's first wetland of international importance and number 948 in the world order.

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