Residents of the BVI are encouraged to organise a wetland or near shore clean-up and educate themselves on the importance of wetlands as the Territory prepares to observe World Wetlands Day on Monday February 2.
Environmental Education Officer, Mrs. Cynara Benjamin-Duncan said that wetlands are useful, unique natural resources and ecosystems with great significance to shore protection.
Mrs Benjamin-Duncan said, “Wetlands are areas of marsh, peatland or water and are very significant as they assist in storm protection, flood mitigation, shoreline stabilization, erosion control and retention of nutrients and sediments.”
The environmental education officer stated that this year, persons are being encouraged to participate in activities to mark World Wetlands Day by creating awareness of just how essential wetlands are for our future.
“As a community we want everyone to be more proactive; experience wetlands for yourselves; educate others; organise a wetlands or near-shore clean-up and just generally combine efforts with others to make a difference,” She said.
Acting Chief Conservation and Fisheries Officer, Mr. Kelvin Penn said the Department of Conservation and Fisheries has several ongoing initiatives to engage members of the public in Wetlands awareness.
He stated that apart from the awareness initiatives of the department, the aim is to get people to understand that wetlands are easily overlooked and can and may be destroyed by human development, over-harvesting and or pollution.
“It is through education and awareness programmes that people understand and therefore act in an environmentally-conscious manner,” He explained.
The Department of Conservation and Fisheries will host an educational Boardwalk Tour of the wetlands at Paraquita Bay. Interested persons are asked to register at the department’s booth at the Agricultural Exhibitions at 2:00 p.m., on Friday, January 30 and Saturday, January 31.
World Wetlands Day is observed annually to commemorate the adoption the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1997.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Labour and the Conservation and Fisheries Department seeks to ensure that the environment, is well managed, protected and preserved to maintain the unique ecological features and natural beauty of the Virgin Islands.