The Environment and Protected Areas Authority in Sharjah, EPAA, has celebrated World Wetlands Day, which is globally observed on 2nd February.
The celebratory function took place at Wasit Wetland Centre on Thursday morning under the slogan, "Wetlands to Reduce the Risks of Disasters", with the participation of Al Andalus School for Basic Education and Al Manar Model School for Basic Education.
The event targeted visitors to the Wasit Wetland Centre as well as university and school students and environmental agencies in the Emirate of Sharjah and the UAE.
Through this celebration, the EPAA aimed to raise awareness of the importance of conserving wetlands, protecting the habitats from environmental pollution and drought, and to raise public awareness of the importance of wetlands to climate, birds and organisms.
A series of workshops were held as part of the celebration, and addressed such topics as reed growing, making a wetland, and wetlands to reduce floods, among many more.
Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Chairperson of the EPAA, said that the directives and support of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, have been instrumental in conserving the wetlands in the Emirate of Sharjah and protecting endangered birds.
She added that celebrating World Wetlands Day will help spread awareness of the importance of wetlands in reducing the risks of environment pollution and improving the biodiversity.
Al Suwaidi said, "Wetlands are crucial for ecological balance as they provide a habitat for wildlife and an ecosystem for organisms. To ensure this balance we have established Wasit Wetlands Centre, which was announced as a protected area in 2007 by an Emiri Decree, issued by His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi. Wetlands play roles in ecotourism, as these habitats are rich in natural characteristics such as geological materials, climate, soil, vegetation and diverse fauna."
Aisha Al Midfa, Director of Wasit Wetlands Centre, said that Wasit Wetlands Centre has become an important habitat for resident and migratory birds, as well as a tourism destination for nature lovers.
She said, "Wasit Wetlands Centre is the lungs of Sharjah. It is home to vegetation and air-purifying plants that help increase oxygen and reduce global warming."
The Environment and Protected Areas Authority in Sharjah called on people to conserve protected areas and protect the environment from pollution, so that it will be a safe haven for different species of organisms.
She called for more action to improve environmental awareness among future generations and to maintain the emirate’s gains in this regards.
Wasit Wetland Centre is located in Al Ramtha neighborhood near Wasit Suburb in the Emirate of Sharjah. In addition to its rich biodiversity, including different species of birds, as well as the great diversity of small mammals, reptiles and insects, rare species of insects have been spotted, some of which were recorded for the first time in the UAE.
The 86 square kilometre protected area was established to boost the significant role played by Sharjah in improving the environmental conditions and preserving the environmental sustainability for future generations.
The protected areas form an important part of the emirate’s ecotourism system.
World Wetlands Day has been celebrated internationally since 1997, with the aim of helping to raise public awareness of the importance of wetlands to human survival.
Wetlands are crucial in ensuring biodiversity, alleviating flooding, replenishing groundwater and reducing the impacts of climate change. Countless fauna and flora rely on wetlands for survival.