Scientists say wetlands being destroyed across the globe
by Alan Harten
July 22, 2008
Scientists from across the globe have warned that the rapid destruction of wetlands around the world is releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide and thus accelerating global warming.
Prior to the start of the Eighth International Regional Environment Program Conference in Pantanal, CUIB, Brazil, they issued a statement saying that global warming is accelerating the decomposition of organic material accumulated in the marshlands which in turn is releasing into the atmosphere greenhouse gases which increases the evaporation of water.
The scientists numbering around 700 from 28 countries across the world, will be meeting between 21 and July 25 to participate in the conference have issued a final declaration in which they urge nations to redouble efforts to preserving wetlands on the planet.
For his part, Professor Paulo Texeira, coordinator of the Environmental Programme of the Region of the Pantanal, a joint project of the United Nations University and the Federal University of Mato Grosso, Brazil has declared that the conference will also serve to “improve the work scientists in the marshlands in Latin America”
No less than 20% of South American land area is wetlands but scientists have very poorly identified and catalogued all the wetlands characteristics. These marshlands cover 6% of the Earth’s surface, a figure which includes marshes, muddy areas, and deltas of rivers, lakes and tundra.
But this area stores between 10 and 20% of all the worlds carbon in its soil, which represents around 771 billion tons of greenhouse gases.
South America is not the only area destroying these wetlands over the last century 60% of all the worlds wetland resources have disappeared, especially in continental Europe where no less than 90% has completely vanished.
In addition to the storage of these gases, it should be remembered that these wetlands on have a powerful economic value. For example, in many areas used to contain flooding, while others naturaly retain harmful industrial chemicals.
The scientists are dedscribing the destruction as a “carbon Bomb” waiting to explode, the destruction of these areas would release devastating amounts of harmful gases into the atmosphere.
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