Poda Protected Area, © Dimitar Gradinarov

“Action for People and Nature ” is the theme for 2022 on World Wetlands Day, which we celebrate every year on February 2.

Nearly 90% of the world’s wetlands have been degraded since the 1700s, and we are losing wetlands three times faster than forests. Yet, wetlands are critically important ecosystems that contribute to biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, freshwater availability, world economies, and more. The theme of the day this year highlights the importance of actions to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands for humans and planetary health.

© Йордан Христов, www.opticron.bg

© Iordan Hristov, www.opticron.bg

Important functions of wetlands include water storage, groundwater enrichment, storm protection, flood reduction, shoreline conservation, soil erosion control, and the retention of carbon, nutrients, sediments, and pollutants. Wetlands are an important source of water everywhere, including in places where this resource is scarce.

In Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) dedicates a series of videos to the Day on its Facebook page. A team of experts introduces the audience to five key wetlands for people, nature, and birds in the country, some of which are close to major cities – Peschina swamp near Belene, Maritsa River in Plovdiv, Yatata Protected Area near Varna, South Park in Sofia and the Poda Protected Area near Burgas.

The Day has been celebrated in Bulgaria for 25 years. The World Wetlands Day awareness campaign is organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands. Contracting Parties of the Convention on Wetlands have been celebrating World Wetlands Day since 1997, when it was first established.

BSPB carries out a number of activities for the protection of key wetlands for birds along the Danube River within the LIFE projects “Pelican Way of LIFE“, “LIFE Danube Free Sky” and “LIFE for Safe Flight“.