Every year February 2 is an important day in the ecosystem. On this day, the world celebrates Wetlands Day, with the theme “Revive and restore degraded wetlands” to increase awareness and understanding of the important part of humans and the globe in wetlands.
Wetlands are geographical regions that are either continuously or periodically saturated or inundated with water. World Wetlands Day helps to be aware to individuals that wetlands have a beneficial impact on Mother Nature.
Wetlands are among the world's most productive environments. They're a valuable resource for nature and people, but they are under threat from climate change, pollution, water extraction, and urban development.
“We are losing wetlands three times faster than forests. Yet, wetlands are critically important ecosystems that contribute to biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, freshwater availability, world economies, and more”, says a United Nations report on the occasion of World Wetlands Day 2023.
According to the report, 35 per cent of the world’s wetlands have disappeared in the last 50 years. “It is urgent that we raise national and global awareness about wetlands in order to reverse their rapid loss and encourage actions to conserve and restore them”, the report adds.
The Sultanate of Oman is one of the leading countries in dealing with all issues related to the environment and climate, and it is keen on supporting international solidarity to address the problem of climate change and its negative effects.
Recognizing the importance of wetlands, the Sultanate joined the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of its International Importance under the Royal Decree No. 64/2012 dated November 25, 2012.
According to Ramsar.org, the Convention on Wetlands came into force in the Sultanate of Oman on August 19, 2013, by designating Qurum Nature Reserve as a Wetland of International Importance.
The Environment Authority is carrying out many environmental programs for the maintenance of wetland environments, and implementation of many environmental programs for the maintenance of wetland environments.
In fact, one of Oman’s wetlands, the Nimr Water Treatment Project in south Oman, is billed as the largest industrial-constructed wetland system in the world. The main purpose of this wetland was to reuse brackish treated effluent water which is a major by-product of oil refining.
The large experimental field created to test the irrigation of various salt-tolerant plants is now a beautiful patch of greenery planted with five native reed species, enhancing resilience and biodiversity.
The combined system of the wetlands and ponds created a new valuable habitat in the desert, attracting thousands of migratory birds. This one project has also resulted in cost-savings in treated water disposal, apart from ensuring greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and has also contributed to Oman’s contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by two per cent.
Oman has also created another wetland very much within the capital city of Muscat –the Al Ansaab wetland. Another wonderful ecosystem, this one is a major hub for migratory birds, nature enthusiasts, and informed tourists.
Home to over 300 species of birds, many of which come to Oman during their biannual migratory flights across the world, the Al Ansab Wetland is a nature lover’s paradise that few have heard of so far, but many will soon know of, given the area's fast-growing popularity.
Sea-wading birds such as the Black Winged Stilt are full-time residents at the wetland, while many species of eagles come to Muscat during the winter months, where they fly into the Sultanate in November and leave once the cold season is over.
Al Ansab Wetland is not just a special place for birds, it is also a safe haven for Oman’s plants, butterflies, and other living species.