In preparation for shifts in climate that will affect the island’s booming tourism economy, Mauritius launched a National Climate Change Adaptation Policy Framework (NCCAPF) July 5, Inter Press Service (IPS) reported.
Demand for freshwater resources will continue to rise, but according to IPS, climate change will cause resources to decline by as much as 13 percent.
“People want sustainable development. So it is essential we start a new way of living and developing our island, climate change or not,” Khalil Elahee, chairperson of the government’s Energy Efficiency Management Office, told IPS. “Whatever we do may not be enough but the measures taken by Mauritius in its climate change education programme help to mitigate the impact of climate change on the island.”
“Climate change is weakening the economic, social and environmental pillars of the island,” Deva Virahsawmy, Mauritian Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, said in the report.
By 2050, half of the country’s picturesque beaches could be history if seas continue to rise, and if “violent storms” increase in frequency, the report said. Now, the island is counting on the youth to implement sustainable development.
“We are shocked to learn that our beautiful island – or part of it – may disappear because of a rise in sea levels,” student Felicia Beniff told IPS. “We are afraid. We have many more years to live. Where will we go?”
Beniff is one of more than 250,000 students who are being taught to consider eco-friendly practices. Instead of throwing it out, students at Rabindranath Tagore State Secondary School store organic waste in compost bins.
“We collect plastic bottles. We turn off the lights and the air-conditioners when we leave the classroom. We open the windows to aerate the classes. This reduces the school’s expenses. We also plant trees,”Ashootosh Jogarah, told IPS.
IPS reported that the Africa Adaptation Programme has donated three million dollars to Mauritius to stabilize sustainability and to make core NCCAPF practices a staple. Japan’s government program Cool Earth Partnership for Africa sponsored the donation. Mauritius is looking to gain addition funding that will contribute to the climate change action plan.