The United Nations Development Programme head in the country has dismissed the theory that Kenya's second city Mombasa will sink in 50 years.
UNDP Kenya resident representative Aeneas Chuma said Mombasa Island is safe despite an upheaval on land and in the ocean as a result of climate change. Two weeks ago, there was concern when some experts said Mombasa Island will be submerged in the next 50 years. Emuhaya MP Wilbur Ottichilo claimed that Mombasa Island could all be submerged in half a decade due to the rising sea levels.
However, the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute countered the claims saying this is unlikely to happen owing to the slow global rate of sea level rise. The rise is projected at about 2mm per year according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Yesterday, Chuma conceded that there are countries such Seychelles and Maldives Islands and the low lying countries like Bangladesh that face the threat of being submerged. "But I don't think Kenya has major threats in that respect although the Coast is likely to be affected naturally like all the Coastal areas as it were," said Chuma.
He was speaking during the celebrations to mark the World Environment Day at the Haller Park in Mombasa. Meanwhile, Chuma said though Kenya has made major strides towards conservation of the environment, there is still more that has to be done to achieve the 10 per cent forest cover. He said massive deforestation in the country has to be tackled. He said the droughts in the country and other parts of the world are becoming more severe, frequent and last longer. "So we need new approaches to development so that we don't just respond to droughts as emergencies but also build the resilience of communities that are prone to the impact of drought," he said.
He said, more importantly, a paradigm shift in the approach to development is needed so that the gap between conservation of the environment and development is bridged. "I think you can develop and also conserve the environment and the natural resources around you and the ecosystem that support our lives. There need not be a contradiction," Chuma said.