Mombasa island is in danger of sinking into the sea unless strong measures are taken to combat the effects of climate change, an expert has warned.
Emuhaya MP Wilbur Ottichilo has warned that the island and surrounding areas could be all gone in 50 years, wiped out by rising sea levels.
Speaking at the Kwale and Mombasa counties climate change forum at the weekend, Dr Ottichilo said:
“Already, some islands in the Pacific are getting submerged. With the ice blocks in the North and South pole melting, there are no reserves to store this water, it is flowing into the oceans and raising the sea level.”
There are already danger signs, he said, pointing to dwindling fish stocks in the ocean and dying coral reefs as fish breeding grounds are submerged deeper and the sea becomes sterile.
Other effects of climate change, he said, include rising global temperatures leading to increased water scarcity.
“In times of drought, the war is always on water. In Kenya, this is already happening in areas like Lodwar, Mandera and Tana River. Climate change makes more areas drier, increasing water scarcity and escalating the problem.
“Currently, water is more expensive than oil. Most rivers are polluted and tap water cannot be trusted.
“At the same time, weather patterns have changed, bringing about intense rains earlier in the year than expected, but instead of coming up with strategies to save this precious commodity, we let it kill people as it washes down to the ocean,” said Dr Ottichilo.
The MP, a natural resources management and conservation expert, is the chairperson of Parliamentary Network on Renewable Energy and Climate Change.
Another impending threat, he said, is the extinction of oxygen from the atmosphere as more trees are cut leaving the world with no new source but plenty of carbon dioxide.
The sentiments were echoed by Lands Assistant minister and Kinango MP Gonzi Rai. Mr Rai said the effects of climate change are difficult to combat as both policy makers and activists were not walking the talk on conservation.
“In Kenya, we are very good at participating but do little to implement the policies that we come up with. This is why we are not moving forward.
“The effects of climate change are not caused by one person and would therefore take more than one person to counter them,” Mr Rai said.
The one-day hearing at Swahili Beach Hotel, Kwale, was organised by the Office of the Prime Minister and the Kenya Climate Change Working Group to collect views from the locals on the effects, impact and possible solutions to climate change.