Climate change in Mauritius is alarming – temperatures and sea levels are rising faster than global averages. The country is also facing accelerated coastal erosion and coral bleaching.
Climate change means a change in the usual weather of the place. Island nations are most vulnerable to climate change, and Mauritius is no exception. The island nations have relatively small land masses and exposure to extreme weather, which increases the sea level. Climate Change is a threat to the existence of many island nations.
How climate change affects us?
- Climate Change affects nature and survival determinants like safe drinking water, sufficient food, and shelter.
- It results in natural disasters like droughts, earthquakes, floods, etc.
- Weak infrastructures are prone to damage because of climate change.
- As per WHO Report, Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths yearly from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea, and heat stress.
- Climate change is also resulting in the extinction of wildlife.
- It is also a threat to agriculture which will result in food shortages.
Climate change in Mauritius
According to the World Risk Report, Mauritius is the 13th country that is most prone to the effects of climate change. The research reveals that Mauritius has been warming at a rate of 0.0216°C per year from 1971-2020, complemented by an increase in precipitation of 2.29mm per year on average between 1981 and 2020.
The Government of Mauritius has predicted the sea level to be 16 cm by 2050 and 49 cm by 2100. The Government even warns, “It is a matter of death and life.”
Mauritius is experiencing the effects of climate change, such as frequent floods, hurting the country’s economy and livelihood. The Academy of Sciences has highlighted that the chances of tropical cyclones in the southern Indian Ocean will increase by 18℅ every decade.
Sunil Dowarkasing, an environment strategist who has worked as an advisor to the Mauritian Government, said that “coastal areas of Mauritius are very vulnerable”.
Expected impacts of climate change in Mauritius
- Decrease in annual rainfall
- Increase in precipitation
- Frequent heat waves in summer
- Increase in intense tropical cyclones
- Increase in high energy waves impacting shores
The large amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere is absorbed by oceans which makes oceans warmer. This increased the sea level, a significant threat to low-lying Small Island Developing Countries. The heat is also destroying coral reefs, an essential source of livelihood and tourism. Climate change is seriously affecting the wildlife species of Mauritius.
Threats of climate change in the various area of Mauritius
- AGRICULTURE – Heat stress has affected crop productivity. Saltwater intrusion is affecting agricultural farms in low-lying coastal areas. The decrease in rainfall level is a significant threat to agricultural production. There may be a 15-20% decline in output by 2050 because of the projected decline in waterfalls.
- COASTAL RESOURCES – The sea level and heat waves increase, causing beach erosion. Climate change has reduced the width of beaches in some coastal areas by 10 meters in the last eight years. This will affect the tourist sector, a significant revenue source in Mauritius.
- WATER RESOURCES – A decrease in the waterfall resulted in a shortage of usable water resources. Projections state that if no action is taken to restore the water, usable water may decline by 13℅ until 2050.
- BIODIVERSITY – It is found that the reproductivity of various plants and animal species is already affected by climate change. If this continues, it will result in the extinction of many wildlife creatures in the long run.
- FISHERIES – The increased sea level and heat waves result in the death of marine plants and animals. Coral bleaching will damage coral biodiversity.
- HUMAN HEALTH – Climate change in human health is either a direct effect of disasters or diseases. Floods and erosion result in injury and loss of life. Climate change also results in waterborne diseases such as dengue.
- INFRASTRUCTURE – Buildings, Properties, and assets have been damaged due to natural disasters like floods, erosion, and landslides. For example – In 2014, Mauritius’ port operations were suspended for ten days due to adverse weather conditions.
Controls of climate change
Climate change is a threat to the whole world. The correct steps must be taken at the right time to reduce its impact. Here are some critical solutions to climate change:
- Extracting fossil fuels affects the climate. All countries shall reduce the extraction of fossil fuels as much as possible.
- We must change our energy pattern from fossil fuels to clean and renewable energy.
- All vehicles require petrol and diesel to run, a fossil fuel. Shifting to public transport and using electric cars is the best alternative.
- Restore nature by planting more and more trees and rewilding the land. This can be compensated for the damage we have already done to the environment.
- Protect forests and wildlife.
Mauritian Government’s steps in the matter of climate change
World leaders initiated the Paris Agreement in 2015. It is a climate change treaty adopted by 196 countries, including Mauritius.
The aim is to make the transition to green energy. For this, the Government is aiming – to use sustainable and innovative technologies:
- to spread awareness about the climate change
- setting up a Youth Environment Council
- to focus more and more on recycling
- right disposal of hazardous waste
- implementation of zero plastic by 2030
- growing three endemic forests of 200-300 hectares each
However, climate change cannot be handled nationally or internationally. Every individual shall take efficient steps in response to the adverse effects of climate change.