Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rising sea could swallow Mombasa in 20 years

Murithi Mutiga in the Daily Nation (Kenya): Mombasa is known all over the world as a city of sun-kissed beaches and luxurious hotels packed with tourists having the time of their lives. But in just 20 years, this world-renowned tourist haven may become an island of misery in which vast stretches of land are submerged in sea.

Salinity will make the water unfit for human consumption, it is feared, and local agriculture will collapse due to excess salts in the soil. That is the grim projection of scientists who are now warning that authorities must take urgent steps to save the coastal city from collapsing under the weight of the effects of global warming.

“We are already seeing adverse climate change signals. Some hotels at the South Coast are building sea walls to deal with waves, something we have not seen before,” says Dr Samuel Mariga, assistant director in charge of climate change at the Kenya Meteorological Department. “All our models indicate that temperatures will continue going up and we must put in place adaptation and mitigation measures to deal with the problem.”

Dr Mariga’s views tally with those presented in a new book focusing on how cities can best cope with effects of changing climactic conditions. The book, "Adapting Cities to Climate Change", highlights challenges facing Mombasa, Dhaka, Cotonou, Mumbai, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai and Durban….

Evening in Mombasa, shot by Angelo Juan Ramos, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

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