Some people consider the Wetlands to be useless, a natural dumpsite which has no value that should be destroyed with impunity but these opinions are far from being factual.
A wetland is an area that is covered by shallow water or has waterlogged soils for long periods. The saturation determines the kinds of plants that can grow. Therefore the vegetation often looks quite different from that of surrounding non-wetland areas. A wetland is a distinct ecosystem.
Wetlands are known by many different names. Depending on their plant life, they can be classified as swamps, marshes or bogs.
In Grenada, Levera Wetland meets the criteria for recognition as a site of international importance. It includes a 23 acre pond surrounded by red, white, black and buttonwood mangroves. It adjoins a dry forest ecosystem and a turtle conservation zone, along with seagrass and coral between Levera Beach and Sugarloaf Island.
Wetlands benefit people in many ways. Depending upon their location, wetlands provide one or more of the following benefits:
They improve the quality of our water by filtering sediments and removing contaminants.
They serve as spawning sites and nursery areas for fish and other aquatic life.
They support downstream aquatic systems, by producing food and organic material that is flushed out of the wetlands and into streams during high flows.
They reduce flood damage to crops and human settlements by storing floodwater and releasing it slowly, like a giant sponge.
They are breeding, feeding, and wintering habitat for hundreds of wildlife species including waterfowl, shorebirds, Leatherback, Green and Hawksbill turtles,
They support many endangered species of animals and plants.
They protect shorelines from erosion due to waves and currents.
They provide recreational opportunities, such as hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching, hence supporting livelihoods in tourism.
They recycle nutrients.
We must consciously prevent the destruction of wetlands. The Grenada Green Group (G3) appeals to all to respect the Nature of which we are a part. Turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and starve to death from plastic ingestion once the plastic reaches the sea. When large pieces of plastic break up into microscopic particles, they attach to phytoplankton, are eaten by fish, are absorbed into their tissue, and thus, eventually, into us. It is estimated that, in only thirty years’ time, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. We are eating our own waste. Seabirds too, are increasingly mistaking plastic for food.
We must reverse this process. There is a very real danger of turning our wetlands into plastic soup due to the illegal dumping by some individuals. There are marine areas of the world where this has already happened. It is up to every one of us to stop this from happening here: Grenada and by extension the world need biodiversity. Let us work together to keep Grenada pure, clean and green!