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Govt acts to rescue Lake Tanganyika's ecosystem

Discussion in 'Biashara, Uchumi na Ujasiriamali' started by BabuK, May 19, 2010.

  1. BabuK

    BabuK JF-Expert Member

    May 19, 2010
    Joined: Jul 30, 2008
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    The government said yesterday it had started taking measures to rescue the fish and ecosystem of Lake Tanganyika, whose temperature has risen sharply over the past 90 years.

    Lake Tanganyika coastline Mahale Mountains, Tanzania

    Speaking to The Guardian by telephone, the Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office (Environment), Dr Batilda Burian, said the government was aware of the problem and it had sent a coordinator with Lake Tanganyika Environmental Project to China to learn better ways of addressing the problem.
    “Our coordinator will join three others from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zambia – the countries bordering the lake - to learn from China how to address the lake problem,” Burian said.
    She explained that according to a scientific report, the water volume had decreased and was posing a threat to fish and other aquatic life.
    Batilda noted that the four coordinators, who left their countries on May 13, this year, would be in China for a week.
    The minister further explained that in 2007 the four countries bordering the lake decided to establish a Lake Tanganyika environmental project after findings by different researchers that the water volume had declined and was threatening the lake’s living organisms.
    The project was also meant to ensure that people conserved the environment by stopping cultivating near the lake and water sources.
    According to a scientific paper, Lake Tanganyika has heated up sharply over the past 90 years and is now warmer than at any other time for at least 1,500 years.
    Lake Tanganyika is the world's second largest by volume and it is second deepest second or third largest freshwater lake in the world by volume, and the second deepest, after Siberia’s Lake Baikal.
    Lead scientist on the project Jessica Tierney told Reuters on Sunday that the sharp rise in temperature coincided with rises in human emissions of greenhouse gases seen in the past century, so the study added to evidence that emissions were warming the planet.
    The 'Great Lakes' such as Tanganyika, Malawi and Kenya's Lake Turkana were formed millions of years ago by tectonic plate movements that tore Africa's Great Rift Valley.
    About 10 million people live around Lake Tanganyika and depend on it for drinking water and food, mostly fish.
    Geologists at Rhode Island's Brown University used carbon dating to measure the age of sediments on the lake floor. They then tested fossilised micro-organisms whose membranes differ at various temperatures to gauge how hot it has been in the past.
    The results were published in Nature Geoscience on Sunday.
    "Lake Tanganyika has experienced unprecedented warming in the last century," a press release accompanying the paper said. "The warming will likely affecting valuable fish stocks upon, which millions of people depend."
    Most climate change studies have focused on the atmosphere but increasingly scientists are studying the effects on oceans, seas and lakes, which all absorb a huge amount of heat.
    The paper argues that recent rises in temperature are correlated with a loss of biological productivity in the lake, suggesting higher temperatures may be killing aquatic life.
    "Lake Tanganyika has become warmer, increasingly stratified and less productive over the past 90 years," the paper says.
    The rise in temperature over the past 90 years is about 0.9 degrees Celsius and is accompanied by a drop in algae volumes.

    Source: Guardian