Rising sea level affects Manus isles

National, Normal

The National – Tuesday, June 14, 2011

RISING sea level continue to threaten the livelihood of the people on Whal Island, in ward one of Pobuma LLG, south west of Lorengau town, Manus.
The rapid increase was now forcing the people to move inland as houses that were once built on the beachfront were being affected.
Vice-chairman of the M’buke group of islands environment committee on Whal Island Topal Pondros said the situation was getting worse every day and the people continued to move further inland.
“Trees are being subdued by the tides,” he said.
“That is really the effects of climate change taking place right before our eyes.
“We are a small island community with only 30 to 40 houses and less than 100 people but we are literally fighting rising sea level,” he said.
Pondros said they had been advised by Prof Chalapan Kaluwin of the environmental science department at the University of PNG to plant mangrove­s along the shores of the island to help push back sand and fight the rising sea level.
World Wide Fund for Nature’s marine officer in Manus Selarn Kaluwin said, on a trip to Whal Island last week, the fund and the Office of Climate Change and Environment Sustainabilit and its partners were ready to plant some two million mangroves before the end of the year.
“Whal Island will be in this initiative to plant mangroves around it to save its shores.
“What used to be huge sandy beachfronts are now under water as sea level continue to rise,” Kaluwin said.
He presented 200 plastic bags to Whal islanders for planting mangroves.
Members of the community from Whal Island, especially mothers, appealed to the provincial and national governments to help them fight the adverse effects of climate change.