Wetlands are ecosystems that holds water either temporarily or permanently. Some wetlands hold water all year-round while others may only hold water seasonally. Wetlands perform essential serves to us that we are mostly not even aware of
Wetlands mitigate flooding, provide sources of water in droughts, prevent erosion, clean our water used for a range of commercial and domestic engagements and even helps to mitigate climate change by helping to store greenhouse gases.
Uganda being the Pearl of Africa the wetlands ecosystem is a home to a range of aquatic, bird species, animals, insects etc. It acts as either migratory, resting places, breeding or feeding grounds, or even cover from predators.
Wetlands act as “nature’s kidneys” by removing polluting nutrients and sediments from surface and groundwater. By protecting water quality, wetlands keep our lakes, streams, and groundwater healthy and are important to the integrity of aquatic ecosystems.
In their natural condition, wetlands associated with rivers and lakes function as a barrier to erosion. The root systems of wetland plants stabilize soil at the water’s edge and enhance soil accumulation at the shoreline.
Wetland vegetation along shorelines reduces erosion by dampening wave action and slowing the speed of water currents. When wetland and shoreline vegetation is removed, efforts to control erosion and sedimentation can be expensive. The end result is normally busting of rivers and causing loss of lives like recently in Mbale and other areas in Uganda.
Wetlands act as sponges, temporarily storing flood waters and releasing them slowly, thus reducing flood peaks. Also protecting downstream property owners from flood damage.
Wetlands and adjacent floodplains often form natural floodways that convey flood waters from upland like mountains to downstream points. These functions become increasingly important in urban areas where development has increased the rate and volume of stormwater runoff.
Each year, many communities that have suffered extensive wetland loss experience severe flooding.
Wetland habitats are critical for the survival of threatened or endangered species of birds and aquatic life Endangered species are those that are in danger of becoming extinct. Threatened species are those that are in danger of becoming endangered.
Let us all adhere to the Presidential Directive of protecting the wetlands in our respective localities, together we can save nature
The author is the Deputy Resident City Commissioner Fort Portal City North Division
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