Mauritius facing climate change risk

Published: 19th November 2016 01:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th November 2016 03:24 AM   |  A+A-


Mauritius President Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim greeting M S Swaminathan during the millennium lecture organised in the city on Friday | martin louis

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: The small island State of Mauritius, looked upon as the favourite tourist destination by many Indians, stands to lose its charm if climate change continues unabated, said the country’s President Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim at the millennium lecture on Challenges and Opportunities for Mauritius through the lens of a Changing Climate at the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation on Friday.

Mauritius, which ranks 14th on the list of countries at a high risk of suffering an extreme climatic event based on the World Risk Report 2014, is most threatened by rising sea level, which, in some regions, has risen to four times the global average, said Bibi Ameenah, the first woman president of the country. Increased acidity in the ocean was another concern that she raised at the event.

“This will inevitably lead to the gradual destruction of the coral reef and coral bleaching, imperiling our tourism revenues and impacting the lives of poor people who depend on tourism for livelihood,” she said.

She added that with an estimated loss of 80% of the coral, Mauritius has started a large-scale transplantation programme based on the success stories of islands like Seychelles. Bibi Ameenah, also a biodiversity scientist, inaugurated a three-acre genetic garden of halophytes set up by MSSRF near a salt pan in Vedaranyam through video conferencing.

MS Swaminathan, who presided over the event, said that it was the first time in the world that such a garden, that would serve as a storehouse of genes providing protection against salinity, has been established near Vedaranyam in Tamil Nadu.


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