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JIS News

“Caring for Wetlands – an Answer to Climate Change,” is the message for World Wetlands Day this year, celebrated worldwide on February 2. This year’s activities will focus on the impact of climate change on wetlands and the role that wetlands play in reducing the effects of climate change. Jamaica has several wetlands, three of which are designated Ramsar sites, that is, wetlands of international importance. These are Black River Lower Morass (1997), Palisadoes-Port Royal (2005), and the Portland Bight Wetlands & Cays (2006).
The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) in collaboration with other members of the National Ramsar Committee, a committee comprising government and non-government groups focusing on the conservation of wetlands nationally, have organized a series of activities to commemorate the day. The activities will commence with the national church service at the St Paul’s Methodist Church in Port Royal at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, January 31. This will be followed by a tree planting activity on February 1 in the Hellshire Hills organized by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), and exhibitions and boat tours of wetlands on February 2 at the UWI/EFJ Port Royal Marine Laboratory Biodiversity Centre, Kingston; Monymusk Gun and Tillers Club, Salt River, Clarendon, and the Montego Bay Marine Park, St James. Exhibitions will also be mounted at the Institute of Jamaica, Kingston; Royal Palm Reserve, Negril, Westmoreland organized by Negril Environmental Protection Trust (NEPT), and at various parish libraries. On Friday, February 5, the Institute of Jamaica will also conduct school tours of Jamaica’s only inland wetland in Mason River, Clarendon.
Wetlands are very important habitats as they protect the shoreline from storm surges, serve as a nursery for fish and protect the coral reef from sedimentation and pollution from land. Rising sea levels and increases in temperature will have a significant impact on the plants and animals species that inhabit them, and this will reduce the amount of protection wetlands can provide for other habitats such as coral reefs.
For more information on activities to celebrate World Wetlands Day, contact NEPA at 754-7540.