Land areas where soils are saturated with water, either seasonally or permanently are broadly called wetlands, and most of the time water table of the wetland is at or near the surface. Some times we see the wetlands as wast areas of no use, as the muddy, marshy lands are hardly of any commercial or economic use.
But according to Prof. Deepthi Wickramasinghe from the Department of Zoology and Environment Sciences, University of Colombo, wetlands and the ecosystem surrounding them are of immense value to the ecosystem as a whole. Wetlands act as kidneys and Lungs of the environment and also as Biological Supermarkets. Wetlands are called kidneys of the environment because of the cleaning functions they perform in the hydrological and chemical cycles, specially the plants found in wetlands are known to be absorbing heavy metals and most of the other impurities from the water table. Because of the air purification role wetlands do by absorbing Carbon dioxide and releasing Oxygen these are called lungs of the environment. And they are called “biological supermarkets” because of the extensive food webs and rich biodiversity they support.
Prof. Deepthi expressed these facts during a guest lecture organized by the Environment Committee of SLAAS, This guest lecture had been organized in parallel to the World Wetland Day which was celebrated on 2nd February 2018. The guest lecture was held in University of Sri Jayawardhanapura on 15th February 2018. The title of the lecture was “Wetlands for a Sustainable Urban Future”.
During her lecture Prof. Deepthi further explained the importance of wetlands in various other forms and also the ways we can use wetlands in income generation and Environmental damage control.
Members of SLAAS, university students and some other participants were present at the lecture.