URBAN DEVELOPMENT IN THE THIRD WORLD AND THREAT TO WETLANDS: THE CASE STUDY OF CALABAR, NIGERIA
Wetlands constitute only two percent of the world’s land mass. Yet, a total of 10% of the world population live in wetlands. Also, about 13% of global urban settlements are found in wetlands. Coastal ecosystems are among the most productive in the world and are among the most threatened. A significant global response to this threat was the 1971 Convention held in Ramsar, Iran, to save the world’s wetlands. Unfortunately, most developing countries are not signatories to the convention, and those that are have paid passive attention to its articles; leading to massive loss of wetlands in these countries. Cities along water ways and basins (such as Calabar) are known for their rapid growth. Calabar has witnessed a rapid urban growth of recent. This growth has led to severe encroachment into the city’s wetlands formed by the Great Kwa and Calabar Rivers with the attendant degradation of the ecosystems. This paper examines the danger posed by the spread of the city to these wetlands and proffers solutions that would check the incursion into these pristine natural habitats. The paper also recommends the development of eco-tourism resort as part of the larger Calabar urban landscape architecture. This will add to the tourism potentials of the city as envisaged by Cross River State.
Calabar, Coastal ecosystem, Kwa River, Ramsar Convention, wetlands
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