Rescue call

Published: Saturday 15 March 1997

the world wide Fund for Nature (wwf) made a strong plea for the conservation and restoration of wetlands throughout the world on the occasion of the World Wetlands Day on February 1. Despite increasing awareness, efforts to save the "kidneys of the planet" have been slow, said Claude Martin, director-general of wwf International.

Wetlands play a crucial role in maintaining the quality and quantity of water on earth and constitute rich and diverse transition zones between aquatic ecosystems and the terrestrial ones such as forests and grasslands. They also provide resting grounds for migratory birds. Wetlands cover roughly six per cent of the earth's land surface. According to the wwf, 60 per cent of Spain's original wetland area has been destroyed and Greece has lost 73 per cent of its marshes in the north since 1930.

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