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Pollution Busting Project Unveiled for the Western Indian Ocean

Pollution Busting Project Unveiled for the Western Indian Ocean

Clean Up of Coastal Waters Offers New Hope to the People and Wildlife of the Region

Antananarivo/Nairobi, 6 July 2004 - A multi million dollar project aimed at cutting pollution in the Western Indian Ocean will be announced today at a meeting of environment ministers in the Madagascan capital Antananarivo.

The three-year project, funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Government of Norway, will help eight countries devise action plans to curb sewage, chemicals and other pollutants coming from the land into the regionís rivers and coastal waters.

The Western Indian Ocean is one of the most wildlife rich in the world with important mangrove forests, seagrass beds, lagoons and coral reefs.

The ocean is thought to hold more than 11,000 species of plants and animals including such creatures as the dugong, a marine mammal believed to be the inspiration for sea- farers tales of mermaids; the coelacanth, a fossil fish and more than a fifth of the worldís tropical inshore fish species.

It is also home to nesting sites for an estimated 70 per cent of the globeís marine turtles.

Some 30 million people in the five mainland countries of Kenya, Mozambique, Somalia, South Africa and Tanzania and on the islands of the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion and the Seychelles, are thought to depend upon the areaís marine and coastal resources for food, livelihoods and recreation.

However, in common with many areas of the developing world, the Western Indian Ocean is suffering as a result of factors including unplanned urbanization, discharges of untreated sewage, habitat destruction, destructive fishing practices and overexploitation of resources.

The new $ 11 million project, which is being implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), will strengthen pollution laws, regulations and cooperation regionally and nationally.

Measures likely to form part of the national action plans include improving the safe disposal of wastes, improving the siting of rubbish tips, developing wetlands to naturally filter and detoxify sewage and improved recycling schemes.

The project is being announced at the Fourth Conference of the Parties to the Nairobi Convention.

The Convention is a regional mechanism established by UNEP through which global treaties, including the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from land-based activities (UNEP/GPA) and those relating to the UNís International Maritime Organization, can be implemented.

Notes to Editors

The Fourth Conference of the Parties to the Nairobi Convention will take place from 6-8 July.

The new project, entitled Addressing Land Based Activities in the Western Indian Ocean Region (WIO-LAB), covers eight East African countries. These are the Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa and Tanzania.

The project fits into the wider issue of the UNís Millennium Development Goals as they relate to poverty eradication, the provision of drinking water and hunger reduction as well as the environmental component of the New Partnership for Africaís Development (NEPAD) and the Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).

For More Information Please Contact Eric Falt Spokesperson/Director of UNEPís Division of Communications and Public Information, Tel: +254 20 623292, Mobile: +254 (0) 733 682656, Email: eric.falt@unep.org or Nick Nuttall, UNEP Head of Media, Tel: +254 20 623084, Mobile: +254 733 632755, E-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org

UNEP NEWS RELEASE

 



 

 

Further Resources

Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from land-based activities

UNís International Maritime Organization

New Partnership for Africaís Development (NEPAD)

Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)

UNís Millennium Development Goals

The Nairobi Convention

 

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