Wetlands disappearing rapidly

2012-10-16 20:21
Nesting pelicans are seen landing as oil washes ashore on an island that is home to hundreds of brown pelican nests in Barataria Bay, just inside the coast of Louisiana. (Gerald Herbert, AP)

Nesting pelicans are seen landing as oil washes ashore on an island that is home to hundreds of brown pelican nests in Barataria Bay, just inside the coast of Louisiana. (Gerald Herbert, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Hyderabad - An alarming 50% of the world's wetlands have been destroyed in the last 100 years, threatening human welfare at a time of increasing water scarcity, a new report said on Tuesday.

Wetlands serve as a source of drinking water and provide protection against floods and storms, yet they have been decimated to make space for housing, factories and farms or damaged by unsustainable water use and pollution.

"In just over 100 years we have managed to destroy 50% of the world's wetlands," said Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme.

"It is a startling figure," he said at a UN conference in Hyderabad.

The report, compiled by an ongoing research project entitled TEEB, or The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, said coastal wetland losses in some regions, including Asia, have been happening at a rate of 1.6% per year.

"Taking mangroves as an example, 20% (3.6 million ha) of total coverage has been lost since 1980, with recent rates of loss of up to one percent per year," the report said.

"We need wetlands because our existence, our food and our water is at stake," said Ritesh Kumar of the environmental group Wetlands International.

Wetlands are known to cover about 13 million km² of the Earth's surface, and are a natural sink for Earth-warming carbon dioxide, act as fish nurseries and are important tourist attractions.

In the United States alone, wetlands are estimated to provide $23bn worth of storm protection every year, the report said.

The report was released at a conference of the UN Convention on Biodiversity, where environment ministers will hold three days of talks from Wednesday to try and raise funds to stop the decline of Earth's natural resources.

- SAPA
Read more on:    water  |  environment
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Games on Sale!

Save up to 60% on selected games. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Love is in the air and it is swirling around you in a romantic mist. This may be an idealistic yearning for that perfect love or...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.