Environmental groups plead for protecting remaining wetlands

POSTED: 02/2/12 12:37 PM

St. Maarten – Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (Epic) and St. Maarten Pride Foundation reiterated their call on government to pass and enforce environmental and conservation legislation aimed at protecting the island’s remaining wetlands and other ecologically, historically and culturally significant areas for current and future generations. The call was made in a statement issued on the eve of World Wetlands Day, which is being observed today.
The two foundations have planned a month of activities to commemorate the occasion and to bring extra attention to the need to protect St. Maarten’s few remaining wetlands. The events include excursions, clean-ups, tree planting events and other activities.
World Wetlands Day began in 1997 as a way to commemorate the adoption of the convention of wetlands in the city of Ramsar, Iran in 1971. Governments, NGOs and communities across the globe use this day to raise awareness and highlight the importance of the world’s wetlands.
“This year’s theme “Wetlands and Tourism” is of particular significance to St. Maarten considering that tourism and tourism related services are the driving force of the island’s economy. Largely unplanned and unregulated development over the past 40 years has lead to the destruction of 14 of St. Maarten’s 19 ponds an alarming three quarters of the island’s wetlands,” the organizations stated in a release.

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