Let’s work together for sustainability of coastal, delta resources

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  • Some 72 per cent of the Earth is covered in water, but 97 per cent of that is salty ocean water. About 90 per cent of the world’s inhabitants are in coastal areas and near oceans. Meanwhile, about 50 per cent of the world’s population is migrating into areas about 60 km from the coastlines.
    Myanmar’s Ayeyawady delta is densely populated. The higher the population density in coastal and delta areas, the more degradation of eco-systems occurs due to man-made errors. The coastal areas of Myanmar are abundant with coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, mudflats, estuaries and sand dunes, and they all play an important role in environmental diversity and the people’s socio-economic development. Meanwhile, areas of mangroves, which are an important asset in dealing with global change, are cleared for prawn breeding and production of rice plantations have declined.
    Farmers and breeders move to new areas and cut down more mangroves, leaving behind barren areas of land. The Union Government has pledged to tackle the man-made errors which are causing degradation of the eco-system of Myanmar’s coastal areas, seeking cooperation from the people and local and foreign non-governmental organizations.
    Mangroves are an important asset in dealing with global climate change. They are being damaged by people clearing areas of mangrove forests for prawn breeding, using small-scale explosives for catching fish, mining, waste disposal and oil spills.
    Deforestation and chemicals from pesticides and herbicides also decrease the layers of alluvial soil along the coast. Meanwhile, the bio-diverse ecosystems in Taninthayi Region are being damaged as rainforests in the area are being cleared away. Conflicts and problems connected with bio-diversity management in coastal and delta areas have underscored the need for an all-round management system.
    The National level Central Committee on Management of Natural Resources in Coastal Areas is taking steps to reverse the degradation of the eco-system of Myanmar’s coastal areas.
    But, we need cooperation among international bodies in order to save the delicate eco-systems and to assess land use inland and their impacts on sea and coastal areas before drawing up a plan to save the country’s natural resources.
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