“If rainforests and tropical forests are the lungs of the Earth, then surely wetlands function as its kidneys.” Which one of the following functions of wetlands best reflects the above statement?
[UPSC Civil Services Exam – 2022 Prelims]
(a) The water cycle in wetlands involves surface runoff subsoil percolation and evaporation.
(b) Algae form the nutrient base upon which fish, crustaceans, molluscs, birds, reptiles and mammals thrive.
(c) Wetlands play vital role in maintaining sedimentation balance and soil stabilization.
(d) Aquatic plants absorb heavy metals and excess nutrients.
Importance of Wetlands:
- Aquatic plants absorb heavy metals and excess nutrients. Hence Option 4 is correct.
- They function as a filtration system, cleaning and storing water, similar to how kidneys work for other ecosystems.
- Wetlands help to regulate the amount of water available by absorbing excess water from rainfall and floods, which can then be utilized during times of need.
- Wetlands support various livelihoods such as fishing, rice farming, travel, tourism, and water provision.
- They are diverse ecosystems that provide habitats for a wide variety of wildlife and migratory birds, contributing to environmental conservation.
- Wetlands protect coastlines and act as natural sponges to prevent river flooding.
- Wetlands help in the regulation of climate change by storing carbon dioxide.