On the eve of World Wetlands Day, the Woodlands House Hotel in Adare played host to a robust gathering for Limerick City and County Council's World Wetlands Day event.
The 2024 theme, "Wetlands and Human Wellbeing," took centre stage, shedding light on the intricate connection between human health – physical, mental, and environmental – and the vitality of the world's wetlands.
Wetlands, as emphasised during the event, serve as critical reservoirs for freshwater, naturally filtering pollutants to ensure a safe water supply.
The event was opened by the Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, Cllr Gerald Mitchell, who extended a warm welcome to the esteemed speakers: Nuala Madigan, CE of the Irish Peatland Conservation Council; Tom Tarpey, representing the Limerick Branch of BirdWatch Ireland; and Dr Fran Igoe from the South East Region of the Regional Local Authorities Waters Programme.
Mayor Mitchell said:
“I was delighted to see the large turnout of people and the positive engagement with the guest speakers at this event. It reflects the level of interest, and also the level of concern surrounding environmental issues, as we collectively seek natural solutions that will benefit us all. As we celebrate World Wetlands Day, let us unite in the commitment to safeguard these vital ecosystems and recognise their profound impact on our water, our biodiversity, and on our own wellbeing.”
The large audience was treated to insightful presentations delving into the international, national, and local importance of wetlands, the risk to them, and nature-based solutions.
Solutions discussed during the evening, advocate for mimicking wetland functions as alternatives to traditional hard engineering solutions for surface water and drainage management.
All speakers emphasised the pivotal role wetlands play in sustaining overall health. The presentations culminated in a dynamic question and answer session, fostering networking opportunities late into the evening.
Community Education Officer at Limerick City and County Council, Sinead McDonnell said:
“It was important to host an event on World Wetland Day which focused on Limerick’s wetlands, the fact that wetlands are declining nationally and the need to protect them into the future both for their conservation value and the ecosystem services the supply.”
Referencing the recently launched Fourth Biodiversity Action Plan, the event underscored the collective responsibility of local authorities in drafting Local Biodiversity Action Plans in the coming year. The event served as a powerful catalyst for fostering awareness and collaboration towards the conservation of wetlands and the promotion of holistic human well-being.