The Impact on Wetlands: A Study Based on Selected Areas in Ampara District of Sri Lanka
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Wetlands are normally deemed areas where water covers soil all or part of the time. Wetlands are important because they protect and improve water quality, provide fish and wildlife habitats, store floodwaters and maintain surface water flow during dry periods. According to the Ramsar convention, wetlands are defined as "Areas of marsh, fen, peat land or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six meters." (Ramsar convention, 1971). In Ampara District of Eastern Province, Kalmunai Municipality, the Karaitivu and Nintavur areas have some significant quantities of wetlands. However, increased population, construction works, town expansion and negligence have generated considerable damage to these. Thus, this research was conducted to identify the negative human impact on these wetlands. In so-doing, the following objectives were met: ‘to find the challenges to wetland existence to note changes in the study area, to find the factors for the wetland deterioration and to suggest solutions to wetland conservation’. Primary and secondary data were used for this study. As primary data, questionnaire survey and direct observation were used. As secondary data, books, magazines, previous researches and statistics were used. The collected data were analyzed using SPSS and GIS software and suggest the practice of remedial measures such as creating proper waste management systems and enhancing the awareness of the value of the wetlands.
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