The Maldives, a small island nation that is not only threatened by pollution of water sources, over fishing, and over population, also has the threat of being devoured by the sea due to rising water levels. This tiny nation has to make some drastic changes in order to continue sustainable growth and living situations. The rest of the world also needs to take consideration of this and other island nations, and the effects of global warming on the sea levels that threaten to engulf this and other islands of the world. According to the Asian Development bank web site (2006), the Maldives has created its problem of water pollution through misuse and salinization from irrigation and other sources and the threat of limiting their aquatic biodiversity through over fishing. The world has created a far greater threat through global warming, putting the island nation of the Maldives on the brink of extinction.
One island in the Maldivian chain, Malé, has recognized the fact that they have ruined their ground aquifers and the water is no longer fit for human consumption. Where does one look for water on an island nation that has ruined it ground aquifers? Malé has realized that the ocean is their only hope for clean drinking water. According to the Asian Development Bank web site (2006), they have started an initiative to solve this problem through building desalinization plants to process the ocean water for utilization for drinking and other uses. They are also distributing these clean waters to other Maldivian islands. The cost of water has risen, but the people of the islands are happy to pay extra for clean and safe drinking water. I think a push for the other Maldivian Islands to implement these desalinization plants would be very beneficial to the Maldivian people. Not only has this initiative made the Maldives safer for its people, it also generates extra revenue that can be used to expand this and other operations. The one hindrance of building these desalinization plants is the initial costs. These costs can be recouped though through the increase in revenue from water sales.
Another threat that is faced by the Maldives is over-fishing and the destruction of their coral reefs. This has greatly reduced the number of sharks of the coasts of the Maldivian islands, and in turn also hurt the Maldives’ tourist industry, according to the Minivan News website (2006). This site also goes on to say that “divers and others in the tourism industry complain of a lack of interest from the government over their concerns,” (Minivan News, 2006). The government should impose a fishing ban during certain times of the months, and according to the Minivan News web site (2006), plastic bags should be banned from the islands as they are very destructive to the coral reefs. This decrease in biodiversity could cause the migration of local sea animals. This would cause adversity to the Maldivian islands as much of their food comes from the sea. According to the Maldives-the sunny side of life web site (2006), the beauty and natural resources are essential to the economic development of the Maldives. This site goes on to tell us that, “Such awareness has raises many concerns and the Government is taking extensive measures toward protecting the environment,” (Maldives-the sunny side of life, 2006). This site also tells us that coral mining is banned in select areas, to hinder the extinction of the Maldivian coral reefs. They have also banned the killing of turtles, as they are threatened by extinction and they ask that visitors not by items made from the shell of a turtle.
The most threatening issue to the Maldives is the fact that the sea level is rising. This poses the threat of engulfing and making extinct the Maldivian islands in totality. There will be no more forests, animals, people, or crops; there will be nothing. This is a global crisis and not one created by the Maldivian people. This is an issue that must be addressed on a global level. The U. N. needs to take into consideration the world’s impact on the environment and its effects on these small island nations. This threat is not unrealized by the Maldivian people, as they have built a sea wall around the entire capital island to reduce the impending hazards of climatic change and the rising sea level, according to the Maldives-the sunny side of life web site (2006). We have allowed this world to go into a downhill spiral. Weather patterns have changed, the average temperatures are rising, the ice caps and glaciers are melting. The Maldivian people can not do anything about this issue alone, it has to be considered a threat by the entire world population, and each nation and person must learn to change there lifestyle in order to save island nations such as the Maldives, and the rest of the world. Part of the reason for this rise in sea level is the destruction of large forests or deforestation.
“Deforestation is the temporary or permanent removal of large expanses of forest for agriculture or other uses,” (Miller, 2005, p203). Miller also tells us that deforestation plays a role in global warming, when trees are removed more rapidly than they can re-grow. Not only can this raise the temperatures in the area of deforestation causing it to be non-sustainable for new growth, Miller (2006) tells us that it takes at least 200 years for the accumulation of a replacement forest that are able to store the same amount of carbon as the original forest. Not only does this promote global warming, but it also destroys the habitats of many animals and insects, reducing biodiversity and according to Miller (2006), disrupts ecosystem processes. Furthermore, according to Miller (2006), deforestation causes a decrease in the fertility of soil from erosion, soil runoff into aquatic systems, the early extinction of species with specialized habitats, loss of habitat for migratory species, climate change in the region from extensive clearing, the release of CO2 back into the atmosphere from burning and tree decay, and last but not least, it accelerates flooding. Looking at all of these horrible things cause by deforestation, one would think there would be strict laws imposed to stop the over-cutting of forests. Many countries stand idly by and watch as there environment and ecosystems are ruined, while someone else makes a huge profit off of what they reap from the land.
The Maldives government has realized that their ecosystem and biodiversity are fragile. According to the Maldives-the sunny side of life web site (2006), the government formed the National Environmental Action Plan in 1989. This plan was used as a base to prevent environmental hazards and over-exploitation of the Maldivian natural resources. They have also joined the fight to reduce deforestation on what little land they have. According to the Maldives-the sunny side of life web site (2006), in 1996, the President of the Maldives, Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom initiated the million tree program. This program established small nurseries in Maldivian atolls where the trees are started, then dispersed for planting nationwide in an effort the Maldivian’s call “greening the environment,” (Maldives-the sunny side of life web site (2006).
In summation, the environmental threats to the Maldives are not only local, but global. The local government is doing what in can to reduce the over-fishing of its coastal water, the destruction of the Maldivian coral reefs, and the threat to the fragile biodiversity present on and around the Maldives. The local government has also realized the global threat that is causing rising sea levels and has constructed a sea wall around its entire capital island, Malé. They attend environmental conferences around the globe. The threats to the Maldives need to be looked at by the entire world, as the Maldivian people are not the only ones to blame for the rising sea levels due to global warming. The Maldivian government has even implemented a plan to plant trees all over the islands in order to do their part in the reduction of deforestation in their part of the world.
We as a world need to make the effort to help small island nations such as the Maldives. We dump greenhouse gases in the air by the tons on a daily basis, promoting global warming and the melting of our glaciers and polar ice caps. We strip huge tracts of forest for use in production of thousands of products that can be recycled, a large percentage of which ends up in our land fills. This not only poses a threat to these small island nations, it is a crisis on the global level. We threaten the biodiversity and ecosystem of the entire world which, may not seem so, is very fragile. We have created climatic changes that are so drastic that we have changed weather patterns, along with the rising temperatures of our oceans, and have created mega-storms and killer hurricanes, that are popping up more frequently than ever in our recorded history. If the world does not act as one to reverse the damage we all have had a hand in creating directly or indirectly, we will no longer have this planet. When it is gone, there is nowhere else to go. We can not just pack up and move! We must act to save this world and the unique environments that are contained in it. In the words of Melissa Etheridge, “I am not an island, I am not alone.” We have created these atrocities to our world together and we must act together if there is ever any hope in reversing the damage we have done. One would think that the world would see this and act now before we are too late, but then again sometimes it seems like no one really cares. That will change when the average temperature is 115 degrees, large parts of the world begin to be swallowed up by the rising oceans and seas, and we are no longer able to produce enough food to feed the billions of hungry mouths around the world.