Saturday, February 25, 2012

Negative impact of climate change worries residents on Tanzania's islands

Daily News (Tanzania): Anxiety about circumstantial eviction is growing among more than six thousand people living on Kisiwapanza Island, one of the inhabited islands in Pemba due to rising sea level. They now fear they may in the near future be forced to leave their beloved homes for safety.

People living on Kisiwapanza have been witnessing negative impacts of climate change and yet adaptation and mitigation efforts in the area are just beginning to take course. Mzee Chum Abdallah ‘Lambika’, 71, a resident of Kisiwapanza says the destruction
of historical graves near the beach, salinization of boreholes (traditional wells) and farms are some of the visible problems caused by rising sea.

“Some years ago, one of the Zanzibar leaders jokingly said that we should vacate this small island because it was about to sink, but the joke may turn to be true in the near future. We are trying to apply adopting methods, but our grandchildren may not have the chance to continue living on this beautiful island,” Mzee Chum says. Mr Sihaba Haji Vuai, acting director of environment in the First vice president’s office says that negative impact of climate change in Kisiwapanza is devastating.

He also mentioned Tumbe and Nungwi as other areas being affected by climate change, but also attributes to unfriendly human activities. “As mitigation and adaptation strategies we are discouraging people from unnecessary cutting down of trees, mainly the mangroves, avoid farming close to the sea, enforce the law restricting the construction of tourists hotels close to the beach (30 metres away from the beach), and construct new boreholes free from salinity,” Vuai said....

He says that effective mitigation and adaptation methods would be applied after the planned study by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) on the impact of climate change on people and national economy. An environment expert from DFID is expected to arrive in Zanzibar next Friday for the study. “The finding will give an idea on the scale of the problem in Zanzibar, but it is still too early to think of evicting people from Kisiwapanza isle although it is worrying."...

Pemba Island, Vumawimbi beach, shot by Marcel Oosterwijk, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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