'Wetlands have a huge contribution in preserving the habitat of various species and maintaining a resilient ecosystem. We all need to double our efforts for safeguarding wetlands and sensitising the population about its significant advantages in the wake of harsh climatic conditions.'
This statement was made by the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Mahen Seeruttun, today at the Rivulet Terre Rouge Estuary Bird Sanctuary, Roche Bois in the context of World Wetlands Day 2019, celebrated each year on the 2nd February. On this occasion, the Minister of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment, Mr Alain Wong and the Acting Director of the National Parks and Conservation Service, Mr K. Ruhomaun, were also present.
In his address, Minister Seeruttun underlined that it is time to assume greater responsibilities towards the protection of the environment adding that Mauritius is already experiencing the negative impacts of climate change. Sudden and frequent floodings as well as unusual temperature rates are signs of how fast our ecosystem is degrading, he cautioned.
Wetlands, he highlighted, are known to absorb excess water and help decrease the frequency of floods while mitigating effects of climate change and reducing impact of natural disasters. Government, he said, is aware of the need to preserving healthy ecosystems and has come up with a number of initiatives which include enhancing forests and national parks through restoration and reforestation programmes and protecting the unique flora and fauna from invasive species.
The Minister pointed out that a mini forest has been developed at Bel-Air State Secondary School with the objective of educating the youth on the role and contribution of forests in the ecosystem. He also spoke of the importance of planting trees across the island and dwelt on the programme embarked by his Ministry with the target of planting 500 000 plants over a period of 5 years.
For his part, Minister Wong underscored that World Wetlands Day marks the signing of the Ramsar Convention in 1971 which aims at raising global awareness on wetlands. He reiterated the need to keep the planet environmentally sustainable and secured for future generations. The Minister also called on the youth to participate actively in ecological activities and contribute significantly towards a greener and safer ecosystem.