Climate change hurts Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve

(VEN) – In its climate change scenario, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment forecasted that by the late 21st century, sea levels at Cat Ba Island, Hai Phong would possibly rise by 65-100cm, and the sea surface temperature would reach 1.6-3.5 degrees centigrade. If this scenario comes true, the Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve would be seriously damaged.

Repairing a storm-damaged coastal road in Cat BaRepairing a storm-damaged coastal road in Cat Ba

A team of experts from the Center for Marinelife Conservation and Community Development (MCD) have undertaken research and found that for the last five decades, climate change has changed the face and geological characteristics of Cat Ba. The sea level measured at the Hon Dau Gauging Station in Do Son, Hai Phong was found to have risen by about 20cm. Sea level rises have led to increased erosion and floods, causing heavy damage and risks for residents as well as natural resources in coastal areas.

The experts also reported a surprising research result: erosion has damaged 16.1km out of the total 125km of coastline in Hai Phong, and the situation has worsened on Cat Ba Island (Phu Long, Dinh Vu) and Cat Hai District. Extreme weather phenomena such as decreased rain and increased number of hot days and natural disasters such as whirlwinds and strong storms have occurred more frequently. Clearly, climate change has had a strong impact on Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve and the city of Hai Phong in general.

Mark Hawkes, a climate change consultant from the Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve, said to minimize the adverse impact of climate change on Cat Ba Island, the authorities must take urgent action to prevent deforestation and forest deterioration, reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by increasing the use of fuel-efficient products such as trams and develop farms using biogas.

Sharing his opinion, many environmental experts said Cat Ba must work out specific plans that combine livelihood development and climate change adaptation measures, development and conservation, while applying a suitable mechanism to facilitate payment for environmental services in order to minimize CO2 emissions which cause greenhouse effects and reduce marine pollution caused by tourist activities. At the same time, it is necessary to increase community education to improve awareness among tourists, fishermen and managers on the necessity to prevent the adverse impact of climate change on marine resources.

Experts emphasized that Hai Phong and Cat Ba’s climate change adaptation strategies in particular must be flexible and long-term.

Hopefully, the public and local authorities will have a high sense of responsibility and strive to effectively help coastal residents in Hai Phong and Cat Ba cope with climate change, manage marine resources and harmoniously combine development and conservation./.

By Thanh Tam