Wetlands are the land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, such that it takes on the characteristics of a distinct ecosystem.
wetlands are generally distinguished from other water bodies or landforms based on their water level and on the type of plants that strive within them.
problems facing wetlands areas
- Industrial activities, this threat comes from draining wetlands for establishing industrial sites also industrial activities are threats to wetlands because of dumping of industrial wastes to wetlands.
- Tourism, many tourist activities taking place in wetlands have lead to draining of these wetlands so as to establish tourist facilities like hotels or camping sites.
- Agricultural activities, these are big threats to wetland since farmers drain and farm in wetland due to its fertility and availability if water. Hundreds of thousands of hectares of wetlands have been drained for agriculture.
- Pollution, this is growing concern in wetland areas, affecting drinking water sources and biological diversity. Drainage and run off from fertilized crops and pesticides used in agriculture introduce nitrogen and phosphorous nutrients and other toxins like mercury to water sources. These chemicals can affect the health and reproduction of species posing a serious threats to biological diversity.
- Climatic change, increase in temperature are causing polar ice to melt and sea level to rise. This in turn is leading into shallow wetlands being submerged and some species of mangrove trees being submerged and drowned. Yet at the same time other wetlands such as estuaries, flood plain and marshes are being destroyed through drought.
- Dams, worldwide there ere now over 40000 dams which alter the natural flow of water and impact on existing ecosystem.
- Introduction, illegally or otherwise of non traditional or alien species into wetlands such as water hyacinths, Nile perch and clay fish
- Over exploitation of wetland resources, increasing human population and change from subsistence to commercial exploitation of wetlands resources continue to exert pressure on limited wetland resources resulting into its decline.
- Establishment of new settlement in wetland areas