Thursday, April 1, 2010

Climate change effects on Nile Delta threatening Egyptians

Middle East Online via IRIN: Pressure is mounting on the Egyptian authorities to do more to protect the Nile Delta, which provides up to a third of the country’s agricultural produce, from rising sea levels. “This is really serious,” Mohamed Eissa, a leading Egyptian environmentalist, told IRIN. “The government must do something to save the Delta from totally sinking.”

Eissa and other environmentalists say it will take Egypt 15-25 years to feel the full impact of climate change. A report released in March by the Arab League said a half-to-one-metre sea level rise over the coming 100 years could cause much of the Delta to be submerged. It also said soil erosion on the banks of the Delta could lead to a decline in agricultural yields.

In response, Egyptian Environment Minister Maged George said the government was studying “the adverse effects of climate change in coordination with the specialized authorities” and working “to raise society’s environmental behaviours through raising environmental awareness among individuals and institutions”. He said the government was offering financial incentives to support environmentally friendly facilities or initiatives and would “toughen penalties against violations and risky environmental practices”.

Some parts of the Delta nearest to the Mediterranean Sea have already been inundated, including parts of the ancient city of Rosetta. The Mediterranean has risen 20cm in the past century and saltwater intrusion is now a major problem, experts say. They expect the sea level to keep rising and flood large swathes of land in Alexandria, Egypt’s second largest city…..

Pompey's Pillar, with Alexandria in the background -- an image from the 1850s

No comments: