Slide shows, distribution of pamphlets and awareness programmes marked the World Wetland Day celebrations in the city on Tuesday.

Officials of the Kancheepuram Forest Division distributed pamphlets with the help of student volunteers from various city colleges near the Velachery bridge and at the Pallikaranai junction of the Thoraipakkam – Pallavaram Radial Road.

Forest Department authorities said there were more than 150 water bodies in the city and its suburbs, but due to urbanisation their number has come down to 27.

On the Pallikaranai marshlands, the officials said recent reports about the appearance of the white-spotted garden skink for the first time in the State and Russell’s viper, the largest and the most widespread among Asian vipers, confirmed the invaluable ecological status of the marshland. Fish such as dwarf gourami and chromides occur naturally in Pallikaranai. Besides, the windowpane oyster, mud crab, mullet, half beak and green chromide are some of the estuarine fauna present in the marsh.

A total of 317 ha (about 793 acres) of the marshland had been classified as Reserve Land under Section 4 of Tamil Nadu Forest Act 1882. The process, of declaring this part of Pallikaranai as Reserve Forests, is on.

As part of the programme, the Trust for Environment Monitoring and Action Initiating (EMAI) organised an awareness programme.

A slide show on the wetland habitat and their status with the flora and fauna of these wetlands was conducted.