Karachi: IUCN Pakistan in collaboration with Engro Foundation, organized an awareness-raising campaign for schools located around the Karachi’s Rehri Goth and Ibrahim Hyderi villages on the occasion of World Wetlands Day Friday.

The theme for this year is “Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future”. A large number of students and teachers participated in the campaign and were sensitized to the importance of wetlands – especially as critical sources of community livelihoods.

Speaking on the occasion, IUCN’s expert on coastal ecosystems Tahir Qureshi explained that the mangroves ecosystem “is a major source of oxygen and pure air for the inhabitants of Karachi. Every year on 2nd February, World Wetlands Day is celebrated worldwide to raise global awareness about the important role of wetlands for people and the planet.”

“Wetlands are extremely important – they comprise some of the most important biodiverse areas in the world and provide freshwater and protection from floods, he noted.

Globally, wetlands are being increasingly recognized for their importance as buffers against climate change and their ability to store large amounts of water reduces the impacts of natural disasters such as floods, droughts, storm surges and help regulate urban temperatures.

Dr. Babar Hussain, IUCN Natural Resource Management expert, also briefed the participants on the significance of the mangroves ecosystem and the many benefits it provides.

IUCN and Engro Foundation have partnered with the objective of improving coastal sustainability which centers on mangroves ecosystem restoration and creating awareness among coastal communities of the importance of these forests to the coastal ecosystem and the economy.

The participants expressed their resolve for doing more for the conservation of wetlands. At the end of the programme, a ceremonial plantation of mangrove saplings was carried out in the vicinity by the participants.