by Theckla Gunga – EM TV News, Port Moresby
The upcoming El Nino is predicted to last until May 2016 and as a consequence, most environmental conservation organisation are pushing for a clearer understanding from local communities on the negative impacts of climate change.
Today, over 600 mangrove seedlings were planted in Manu-manu, a coastal Central village, as a proactive measure to address rising sea levels.
This exercise was conducted to phase out a United Nations funded Conservation Union and allow another UN body to spearhead the program in Papua New Guinea.
In PNG, the Mangrove Rehabilitation for Sustainable – Managed Healthy Forest project has been working with coastal villages to plant mangroves to minimise the effects of rising sea levels.
Project Manager Rufus Mahuru says the focus of the mangrove seedlings planting is to get the community to manage and conserve their mangrove forest.
“Conservation is important, and taking into account the El Nino season, villagers here will be watering the seeds with salt water to help them grow,” Mr. Mahuru said.
The environmental damage caused to marine life because of the increase in sea levels has become a regional concern for all Pacific countries.
Manus, New Ireland and Central are three of the six provinces that MARSH has assisted local communities to accept and manage this environmental challenge.
Today, it partnered with the Manu-manu villagers, a village of over 15,000 people badly affected by rising sea levels.
An estimated 30 metres of land that was eaten up by sea rises and has forced villagers to relocate to higher grounds.
While land is becoming scarce in this village and many have resorted to building wooden sea walls as measures to fence the sea out, many worry how much more land the sea will eat in the coming years.
While the community is initiating measures to prevent the sea destroying their homes, their mangrove forest is under threat of extinction.
The planting today signifies a positive approach towards the community’s strive to save their mangroves, which provides food, building materials and home to marine life.