Sat. Apr 4th, 2020

Alert for the fragility of the Panama Bay wetland

The fragility of the Panama Bay wetland, a site of Ramsar importance, becomes increasingly evident with the death of mangroves and the presence of pollutants that impact on their role as habitat for birds and sea creatures, Panamanian scientists warned Friday .

"There are many threats, although the Bay of Panama is a place of so much wealth, it is also fragile, there may come a time when the alteration causes the birds to disappear or the mangroves to be lost," warned the director of the Regional Center Ramsar for the Western Hemisphere (Creho), Osvaldo Jordan.

Pollution and poor execution of policies that preserve this area considered since 2003 Wetland of International Importance (Ramsar site) and declared a protected area at the national level in 2015, are part of the latent threats.

The specialist indicated that there are already mangroves that are beginning to die in areas of the bay that have not been subject to human intervention, which makes him fear for a massive mortality if it were to occur.

Jordan, with studies in Biological Sciences at the California State University, a master's degree in Latin American Studies and a doctorate in Political Science at the University of Florida, said that the most evident damages in the wetland occur from the garbage that reaches the coasts .

"In Panama there is no effective solid waste management, and it is a threat to the marine-coastal area, especially the Ramsar site (…), the sad thing is that the garbage knows no limits, once it enters to the ground, and goes to the river, we don't know where it will end and who it will affect, "he said.

Jordan argues that the situation has worsened due to the disorderly urban growth that Panama City has had, which has affected the rich mangrove ecosystem in its bay.

He appreciated that the population needs to be made more aware of the coastal services offered by wetlands, since they house a unique biodiversity, regulate droughts and floods and store CO2.

Rosabel Miró, executive rector of the Panama Audubon Society, told Efe that the Panama Bay wetland is important for thousands of shorebirds that migrate from North to South America in the western winter, but are currently threatened by pollution of the ecosystem.

It is estimated that annually between 1 and 2 million birds pass through the Bay of Panama: "Worldwide there are birds that are eating microplastics, and this is affecting these beach species," said Miró.

The environmentalist added that small birds could be having trouble getting food, unlike larger ones that have larger beaks and can access the deep contaminated layers of the coast.

Miró also said that studies suggest that there is a large number of birds that reach the wetland but it is not known if the growth of the birdlife in the last 30 years is due to the deterioration of other sites that push them to Panama.

The Panama Bay Wetland has an extension of 85,664 hectares, of which 39,703 correspond to the land area and 45,960 to the marina.

The country has 39 wetlands between inland and coastal, including five wetlands of Ramsar importance.

. (tagsToTranslate) Alert (t) fragility (t) wetland (t) Bahia (t) Panama

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