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Hong Kong Wetland Park celebrates World Wetlands Day 2013 (with photos)

     Hong Kong Wetland Park held a ceremony today (February 2) to celebrate World Wetlands Day 2013. World Wetlands Day commemorates the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in Ramsar, Iran, on February 2, 1971 - an international effort aimed at the conservation and wise use of wetlands around the world. On this day every year activities are held around the world to raise public awareness of wetlands' value and benefits, and to promote their conservation and prudent use.

     This year's theme is wetlands and water management, chosen especially as 2013 is the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation, and this year's slogan is "Wetlands Take Care of Water".
     The theme and slogan aim to raise awareness of the interdependence of wetlands and water, to highlight ways of ensuring the equitable sharing of water between different stakeholder groups and to emphasise that without wetlands there would be no water.

     Wetlands play a major role in the availability and quality of water. They are integral components in the hydrological cycle and contain much of the water utilised by humans. The wise use of wetlands is essential for the delivery of sustainable water management and the benefit of all natural ecosystems, which in turn promotes sustainable economic and social development.

     The Park's reed bed provides a good example of the ecological interdependence of wetland systems. It helps maintain the water quality in the freshwater marshes by trapping suspended solids and absorbing excess nutrients in the water. Water trickling through the reed bed is cleaned by micro-organisms living in the root system. The reed bed is also an important habitat for many species of wetland animals and plants.

     Officiating at the celebration ceremony today, the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, Mr Alan Wong, said, "The Park is committed to promoting the functions and value of wetlands. To achieve our goals, we will work closely with our stakeholders including the business sector, non-governmental organisations, district bodies, schools and volunteers."

     Also speaking at the ceremony, the Chairman of the Country and Marine Parks Board, Professor Nora Tam, reminded visitors of the interdependence of wetlands and water management. She said, "Wetlands are a crucial provider of water as they store water like giant sponges, and slowly release water for human and wildlife consumption. Wetlands are also natural filters. Insects and microbes inhabiting wetlands help break down the organic matter in water, while aquatic plants can purify water by absorbing excess nutrients. Wetlands provide a clean source and store of fresh water."

     From November 2012 until March 2013, the Park is holding the Bird Watching Festival 2012/13, during which visitors can learn about the behaviour and ecology of long-legged waterbirds through a wide range of activities including guided tours, a thematic exhibition and workshops. The Park will remain open during the Lunar New Year holidays. The public are invited to visit the Park to witness the beauty of the flocks of wintering birds.

     For details of World Wetlands Day 2013 and other activities, please visit

Ends/Saturday, February 2, 2013
Issued at HKT 12:31


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