In the context of the celebration of World Wetlands Day, the Ministry of Environment was committed to transform the wetlands of Tongoy into protected natural areas. “Protecting wetlands is not only caring about biodiversity, but it also has to do with the welfare and protection of human beings” said the state secretary Marcelo Mena.
Mena’s words are right since they recognize the importance of these ecosystems, which are temporarily or permanently flooded areas that can be recognized as swamps, estuaries, fens, peatlands or mangroves. Places that, together with regular weather and the flooding of the rivers, are home to a great biological diversity, in addition to being sources of water and productivity that are essential for the survival of countless plants and animals species. Despite this, it is estimated that 64% of its surface in the world has disappeared since 1900.
The World Wetlands Day commemorates the signing of the Convention of Ramsar (Iran), held on 2 February, 1971. Chile, where there are more than 30 thousand wetlands, is one of the subscribers of this Treaty, the oldest of the intergovernmental agreements on environmental issues. Thirteen of the 2,227 sites protected by the Convention are Chilean, and were enrolled in 1981. These include the Carlos Anwandter Nature Sanctuary (Los Rios), Bahia Lomas (Magallanes), Tara (Antofagasta), and the Conchalí Lagoon Nature Sanctuary (Coquimbo).
CONAF has been the responsible organization in terms of the conservation of Chilean wetlands, with highlights such as the formulation of the Regional Strategy for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of the High Andean Wetlands in Chile (PACHA), completed in 2002, and the creation of a national program for the conservation of wetlands in 2010.
The recent agreement for the protection of wetlands of Tongoy is one further step in the task of protecting these important environmental agents, vita for plants, animals and human life.
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