Several decades back even when Maumoon Abdhul Gayyoom was president of Maldives, the people of Maldives were made aware about the threats of climate change. Many might not have understood the gravity or seriousness of the issue back then. Climate change was not even taken seriously by subsequent governments and they undertook development projects in the islands without considering the environmental impacts.
Likewise, in the early 2000s, a harbour was built on the Nothernside of Fuvahmulah which after a period of time, due to the process of erosion, the sand that use to naturally disperse around the island was now blocked because of the harbor. Even though the island was eroding the islanders didn’t take the issues seriously and often mined sand from the beaches to build their homes. However, currently, having realised the seriousness, people living close to the seashore have started taking steps to prevent erosion and save their houses from the sea. It should be noted that the rate at which visitors come to Fuvahmulah, it will gravely impact the atoll.
Fuvahmulah is famous for its underwater ecosystems due to which many international tourists come to the island. However due to the increase in tourist divers, many problems are starting to appear. For instance, the boats which take the tourists to the diving area where they have to anchor the boat leads to damage of the reef, especially if they are anchored for a long time.
One of the most frequent divers in Fuvahmulah states that at this rate, it will take just 3 years for the reefs to completely die.
Another problem is every time when people go diving, they tend to feed the animals which gives a certain advantage to some animals offsetting the natural balance. To counter, there could be schedules for diving each day which limits the amount of dives. Feeding animals in the wild need to be further studied.
Many people in Fuvahmulah are directly or indirectly benefiting or affected by tourism. The entire Maldives is dependent on tourism to keeping its economy stable. Due to climate change, if the corals die and the ecosystems disappears, diving will stop in Fuvahmulah and 100s of people will lose their jobs and connected businesses will go bankrupt.
” The start of a mass extinction is on the way. ” — Greta Thunberg
The Maldivians have a history of defending their country, their land. Is the situation same now? The people of Maldives exacerbates the impacts of climate change and potential to adapt by destroying their natural defenses. Climate change is happening. Unless the Maldivians and everyone in the world does something about it, climate will continue to change and it will trigger catastrophes.
Mohamed Jaush is a 15 year-old student of Fuvahmulah School. Follow him on Twitter @Realjaush.